This announcement came as Major General Derrick Mgwebi, the new military chief of MONUSCO, officially assumed his duties on Monday, February 1. Major General Mgwebi takes on this leadership role with 35 years of military experience in his country of South Africa and internationally.
“The signature of this agreement between the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) and MONUSCO is a significant milestone in our effort to bring peace and stability to the people of the Congo, wherever they may live,” DRC Defense Minister Crispin Atama Tabe said. “We welcome Major General Mgwebi’s appointment as we continue our efforts to eradicate the rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and bring them to justice for crimes against the Congolese people.”
The decision to resume formal cooperation between the FARDC and MONUSCO was made by Defense Minister Tabe and David Gressly, Deputy Special Representative for MONUSCO. It revives the “strategic dialogue” that began in March 2015 but were suspended over disagreements regarding sovereignty of the FARDC.
“We are pleased to have resolved our differences in a manner that is acceptable to both sides while preserving the FARDC’s independence and sovereignty,” Minister Tabe added.
MONUSCO currently has nearly 20,000 uniformed personnel on the ground in the DRC. It is mandated by the United Nations to use all necessary means to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the DRC Government in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.