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U.N. pays tribute to Congo citizens

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The UN Secretary-General lays a wreath for fallen peacekeepers in Mavivi town in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN photo

On the second day of his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres saluted the courage of the country’s citizens, as well as the sacrifice of the peacekeepers who have died serving them.

Guterres was speaking at a press conference in the town of Beni, which is at the epicenter of the country’s deadly Ebola epidemic, where, he said, the people of the region are also facing other serious problems, such as measles, malaria and cholera, as well as insecurity.

Speaking in French, he said “I hope that my presence here today reaffirms my full support for MONUSCO (the UN stabilization mission in the country), in the fight against armed groups who spread fear and death. MONUSCO and its partners — the armed forces of DRC, and the Congolese national police — continue to work together to bring peace and security to the region.”

The UN chief went on express his condolences to the families, and loved ones, of the victims of violence, and called on all armed groups to immediately end their attacks on the civil population, and the security forces charged with protecting the Congolese people.

“The blue helmets have paid a heavy price in the service of peace. But this only strengthens our determination. We will do all that we can to put an end to the scourge of insecurity in this region. It is important that the people of Beni knows that we hear the cries of distress.”

The UN system is determined to support the Congolese authorities, local communities and civil society actors, added Guterres, in the fight against insecurity, and that he will raise the subject with the national authorities in the capital, Kinshasa.

The Secretary-General also visited the Mangina Ebola Treatment Center, where he expressed his admiration for the resilience of the community, and pointed out the central importance of security to tackling the disease.

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