Since July 2021, alone or with the Congolese army (FARDC) troops, MONUSCO peacekeepers have escorted thousands of civilian vehicles between Komanda and Bwanasura-Luna at the rate of three escorts per week.
As part of its support for improving the security situation and protecting civilians, MONUSCO is continuing its operation to secure convoys of public transport vehicles and goods in Ituri, more particularly in the territory of Irumu where ADF rebels frequently set ambushes to the users of the national road 4 between Bunia and Luna, on the border with the neighboring North Kivu, and where roughly thirty civilian vehicles were set on fire in 2021 by these rebels.
Since July 2021, alone or with the Congolese army (FARDC) troops, MONUSCO peacekeepers have escorted thousands of civilian vehicles between Komanda and Bwanasura-Luna at the rate of three escorts per week. Without these escorts, Bunia and some large towns in the North Kivu and Ituri would be suffocated. Suspension (even temporary) of traffic on this crucial road with the insecurity prevailing in this area have often been the cause of the rise in the price of the basic food and non-food items on the local markets. In collaboration with FARDC, the escort program for convoys of civilian vehicles has been set up. Motorists applaud the program and, beyond the purely safety aspect, some of them, more particularly, appreciate "the kindness shown by Kenyan peacekeepers who fly to our rescue in the event of a breakdown or puncture".
“We applaud the escort of the vehicle convoys from Komanda to Luna; MONUSCO and FARDC are working in collaboration to provide us escorts. MONUSCO is in front, we, drivers, in the middle and FARDC behind. We urge MONUSCO to continue its work. Before, we could spend two or three weeks in Komanda before reaching this road. There is now a convoy every day from Komanda to Luna”, said a motorist whom we met this morning in the parking lot in Bunia and who was part of the convoy escorted on Monday, January 24 by MONUSCO peacekeepers.
Another one confirmed: “We really appreciate the work done by MONUSCO, they never abandon us on the road and, when a vehicle breaks down, they wait for us and even help us repair the vehicle so that we can safely proceed. They are in front and the FARDC behind, if there is a problem in front, heavily armed and ready to help. Our wish is to see MONUSCO continue to secure this road, especially where there are rebel positions; we want them to be everywhere to secure the road so that we can drive on freely and safely as before. We congratulate MONUSCO and FARDC for the work achieved and encourage them to keep on”.
The local populations also welcome MONUSCO’s efforts to secure traffic on this road number 4. The population in Komanda, 75 km south-west of Bunia in the territory of Irumu, repeated the same on Wednesday January 26 in a security meeting between MONUSCO, local civilian protection actors, traditional leaders, representatives of the security forces and members of the civil society. To mitigate the impact of the presence of the militiamen in this area, the participants to the meeting asked MONUSCO to step up its patrols along the Komanda - Luna and Komanda - Marabo road sections.