The UN Security Council has unanimously approved the first-ever “offensive” UN peacekeeping brigade to battle rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which on Friday hailed the move as a turning point for its restive east.
Security Council has unanimously approved the first-ever “offensive” UN
peacekeeping brigade to battle rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
which on Friday hailed the move as a turning point for its restive east.
resolution gave the 3,000-strong force orders to “neutralize” and “disarm”
rebel groups in the resource-rich east of the country, which has been gripped
by conflict for more than two decades.
Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponya hailed the move as “the beginning of the
end of armed groups and sends a very clear signal to those supporting them.”
welcomes this vote, which marks a decisive turning point for re-establishing
peace and security in the Kivu” regions in the east, he said in a statement.
troops in the intervention brigade will come from South Africa, Tanzania and
Malawi, UN peacekeeping force chief Herve Ladsous said Thursday.
and surveillance drones to monitor DR Congo’s borders with neighbors accused of
backing the rebels will be operating by July.
will launch UN peacekeeping operations into a new era, said diplomats. “It’s an
innovation,” said France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud, whose country wrote the
resolution which has worried some contributing nations to UN missions.
resolution’s mandate to conduct “targeted offensive operations” has never been
given to a peacekeeping mission before.
“in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with
international law” to “prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize
these groups, and to disarm them,” the resolution said.
It will act
and drones are part of a UN campaign to add military muscle to political
efforts to end conflict in DR Congo’s border regions with Rwanda and Uganda.
African nations signed a UN-brokered accord last month pledging not to
interfere in the affairs of their neighbors. Former Irish president Mary
Robinson was named UN special envoy for the Great Lakes region, leading political
will be made up of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special
force and a reconnaissance company with headquarters in the North Kivu
provincial capital of Goma.
reporters there would be 3,069 troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi in
the force, which he said would be “an important new element in the panoply of
Security Council and the UN have moved into new territory” with the
intervention brigade, said Britain’s UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.
has an initial one-year mandate and the resolution said it was created “on an
exceptional basis and without creating a precedent.” Several UN ambassadors
said however the precedent had now been set.
which has troops in the UN mission in DR Congo and is also a council member,
“wavered” over whether to back the resolution, said its UN envoy Gert
among countries which fear that the offensive brigade will make other
peacekeepers a target of radical groups in DR Congo and other conflicts in
which such a brigade could be introduced.
which also has troops in DR Congo, also raised opposition to the brigade being
used in other UN missions.
temporary member of the Security Council, joined the body’s other 14 members in
voting for the resolution.
Uganda have been accused by UN experts of backing the M23 rebels who briefly
took Goma in November in an offensive which sparked the UN security rethink.
Both have denied the charges.
ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana called on Kinshasa to make greater efforts to
“tackle the deep-seated causes of conflict” in the country and also criticized
“pre-conceived ideas of the past” which had seen Rwanda accused.
armed groups from neighboring nations, in particular the M23 rebels, have taken
over large parts of the east.
the M23 was wracked by infighting and hundreds of rebels loyal to warlord Bosco
Ntaganda fled into Rwanda after being routed by a rival faction. Ntaganda is
now in the custody of the International Criminal Court where he faces war