The United Nations Security Council has been briefed on the progress made towards the scheduled December Presidential, Parliamentary and Province elections in the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Special Representative of Secretary General in DRC, Leila Zerrougui on Thursday told the world body’s organ in charge of peace and security, that the electoral process remain on course, but still face “major challenges” majorly violence from armed groups in the eastern part of the country.
“The situation is most worrying in Beni, where civilians, security forces, and the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) continue to come under near-daily attacks,” said Ms. Zerrougui via video link from DRC capital Kinshasa.
She noted that MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade has taken an increasingly posture in recent months.
“They undertake proactive long-range patrols to ensure a protective environment, and respond swiftly to alerts, in several recent cases repelling attacks as they are underway, most recently just two days ago.”
The arm activities have reportedly complicated the response against a deadly Ebola outbreak in the restive region which began in August, and local population is apparently showing mistrust towards health workers and in one case attacking a health convoy according to the UN boss.
“Responders are currently grappling with the issue of simultaneously scaling up response efforts, both in Beni and in other nearby areas, while adapting the footprint to the deteriorating security situation,” she added.
Ms. Zerrougui, who also heads MONUSCO, highlighted that the electoral process continues to follow the set timetable, with 21 candidates vying for the presidency, 15,505 for the national assembly, and some 19,640 for provincial assemblies.
She regretted that women’s participation has been very low so far, with only 12 per cent women contesting seats in the national and provincial polls, and only one female candidate for President.