"This operation is taking place in the Djugu territory, in the province of Ituri, and comes in response to recent attacks against civilians and the presence of CODECO members in the area," Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said.
The joint operation came on the heels of yet another request from the DRC government for the UN peacekeeping force in the country, known as MONUSCO, to pack up and leave. The latest request came last month from President Felix Tshisekedi, who wants MONUSCO to withdraw by the end of this year.
The reason given is that the peacekeepers are not protecting people targeted by multiple rebel groups.
#RDC: Une accalmie règne désormais à Bahema Nord situé dns le territoire de Djugu, en Ituti. La société civile locale qui s'en réjouit, dit q cela fait suite aux opérat° menées par ls FARDC dns la zone. ayant mis en déroute la milice CODECO. Ça fait 1 mois sans attaque,dit-elle pic.twitter.com/zyimEtb0yX
The tweet reads, "Calm now reigns in Bahema Nord, located in Djugu territory in Ituti. The local civil society is delighted, and claims that this is due to the FARDC operations in the area, which disrupted the CODECO militia. They have not been attacked for a month, they say."
Dujarric said the most recent reports place CODECO forces near the Lala camp for displaced persons, about 9 km southeast of Djugu. When peacekeepers were deployed, they fired warning shots near CODECO members approaching the site, forcing them to withdraw.
"Peacekeepers are continuing to patrol the area to protect civilians and deter armed groups, including by physical protection to more than 100,000 displaced men, women and children who have been displaced through four temporary bases in the Djugu territory," the spokesman said.
Analysts have argued withdrawing MONUSCO from the DRC will leave a vacuum, making room for rebel groups to move in.
CODECO is an abbreviation for a coalition of armed groups operating in the eastern DRC known as the Cooperative for Development of the Congo or the Congo Economic Development Cooperative.