BUNIA, CONGO (AP) – A top United Nations (UN) peacekeeping official has vowed to step up humanitarian assistance to Congo’s Ituri province, where militiamen killed at least 60 people at a displaced persons camp this month.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix made the pledge on Tuesday on a visit to the region, stepping in after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cancelled his trip because of the mounting crisis in Ukraine.
“The UN has not forgotten the people of Ituri and will continue to support the Congolese government to restore peace,” said Lacroix, who visited the Roe displaced persons camp and also met with local leaders.
The CODECO militia that a monitoring group blamed for the early February attack on the camp also is considered responsible for scores of other deaths over the past year. Rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, are also active in the area.
The instability has caused many humanitarian agencies to suspend their work, and advocates say the local population’s needs are now enormous with limited resources available.
Lacroix said he discussed with local officials the importance of providing security to displaced persons camps.
“More needs to be done against the armed groups and the humanitarian access must continue to be ensured,” Lacroix tweeted.