Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "It is difficult to attribute the attack to a specific group because there is very little news at the moment", says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Loris Cattani, Xaverian missionary and member of the Peace Network for Congo, commenting on the massacre of 15 blue helmets committed by an armed group that attacked the base of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Semuliki, North Kivu, in the east of Country.
The assault began around 5 pm on 7 December and lasted 3-4 hours, ending around 8-9 pm, causing over 15 deaths, including 53 wounded among UN soldiers, all of Tanzanian nationality.
The assault, was from some sources, attributed to the ADF (Allied Defense Forces) a group of Ugandan origin that has been raging for decades in the area. Fr. Loris does not seem convinced, recalling that "the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has not confirmed that it was the ADF men who committed the massacre".
"It do not think that the ADF has the ability to attack a UN base" continues Fr. Loris. "The UN says it was a well prepared and organized assault. First they hit the military camp's communications center, preventing the Blue Helmets from communicating with their fellow soldiers to request reinforcements and helicopters from the other bases. Some of the assailants seem they wore uniforms of the Congolese regular army".
"Some say that the massacre of the Blue Helmets was committed or otherwise commissioned by those who want the reduction or even the cancellation of MONUSCO", says the missionary. "The fact that they acted through local armed groups such as the ADF or the Mayi Mayi is secondary. Those who wanted the assault are probably those who have been asking for the reduction or cancellation of the UN mission for months. That is to say the government".
"It must be added that about a kilometer from the base of MONUSCO there is a camp of the Congolese army, whose soldiers go to the UN base every day to receive food rations. According to unconfirmed news, the assailants apparently exploited this circumstance and entered the UN camp wearing uniforms of the regular army, without raising the alarm of the Blue Helmets. These details must be verified. Finally, one must bear in mind that it is not the first time that guerrilla groups have acted wearing regular army uniforms", concludes Fr. Loris.
The DRC is experiencing a political and institutional crisis since December 2016, the date within which the presidential elections were to be held on the expiration of the second and last term of President Josesph Kabila, which was extended by the New Year's Eve Agreement (31 December 2016) until the end of 2017 to allow the preparation of the presidential vote. However, this was postponed to 23 December 2018. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 11/12/2017)