The United Nations has praised specialized police units from Indian and Bangladesh for saving civilian lives in the last week’s heavy fighting in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC.)
The specialized armoured police units, known as Formed Police Units (FPUs), extricated people who were inside homes where mortar rounds and other munitions were being deployed, UN Police (UNPOL) Adviser Mark Kroeker told the UN News Service yesterday.
The UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, estimates that hundreds were killed and many more wounded in the violence which broke out on March 22 between government forces and guards of former Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, who was defeated last year by current President Joseph Kabila in the run-off round of landmark presidential elections.
The FPUs, which were operating at considerable risk to themselves, rescued not only “the high-level people such as ambassadors, but also just ordinary people who are trapped and who needed to be evacuated from the line of fire,” Kroeker added, praising their performance and voicing his gratitude to the police officers, some whom were injured.
“They were in what turned out to be almost a military environment, but they operated as a rescue unit helping people,” he added.
FPUs were first used as part of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and their success there and in other operations has led to calls for increasing deployment, and to date, there are 35 units in six missions worldwide.