Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN wants new troops for DRC

10 January 2013, 15:05

New York - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seeking additional resources to strengthen the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo with "intervention" troops, night-vision equipment, surveillance drones with cameras, and enhanced river patrols.

The UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters on Wednesday that Ban sent a letter to the Security Council on 27 December outlining the proposals which are aimed at improving the protection of civilians from the threat of armed groups in DRC’s vast mineral-rich eastern region which has been engulfed in fighting since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

The UN diplomats said Ban is expected to send a report to the council later this month with specific recommendations for additional troops - possibly as many as 2 000 - that would actively intervene, for example, to prevent another takeover of the key eastern city of Goma.

The Security Council wants to beef up the UN peacekeeping force known as Monusco, which has more than 17 700 UN peacekeepers and over 1 400 international police, following last year's takeover of many villages and towns in eastern Congo by M23 rebels who briefly held Goma before withdrawing in early December.

The force — the largest of the UN's 15 far-flung peacekeeping operations — did little to protect the tens of thousands of civilians, many of whom fled their homes.

On Tuesday, the UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous briefed the Security Council on the proposed measures but ran into opposition from neighbouring Rwanda, which is believed to be backing the M23, especially on the possible deployment of unarmed drones. Diplomats said Russia was among the other countries raising concerns about the use of drones.

Rwanda's UN Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana said after that meeting that his government and others have legitimate concerns about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, especially before an assessment from the UN Secretariat later this year on the legal, technical and financial implications of using UAVs.

New technology

"It might have a precedence on other countries," Gasana said. "We owe them a kind of explanation. It is about human beings, it is not about 'Star Wars.' We need this new technology, but at which cost?"

The Rwandan government denies any support for the M23, which is made up of hundreds of soldiers who deserted the Congolese army in April, mainly from the Tutsi ethnic group that was targeted for extermination by Hutu militias during the Rwanda genocide. Since withdrawing from Goma, M23 has taken steps toward negotiating with the Congolese government.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the consultations were closed, said France, Britain, the US and other Western countries back the deployment of drones and other advanced equipment in eastern DRC, saying it would enhance the ability of peacekeepers to track armed groups and help protect UN forces from ambushes.

The UN officials say drones could also be useful in other African conflicts and possibly in the search in Central Africa for leaders and members of the Lord's Resistance Army, a brutal gang of jungle militiamen headed by warlord Joseph Kony who is accused of war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday the US does supports the UN's unarmed drones in the DRC to help the UN peacekeeping effort.

"The DRC government has also welcomed the UN's request," she said, using the country's initials.

Ban said in a key part of the letter, obtained by The Associated Press, that Monusco needs more information, analysis and dissemination to enhance the awareness of peacekeepers "and to enable timely decision-making".

"This includes external imagery/electronic equipment and associated analysis capabilities, notably surveillance capability like that provided by unnamed aerial systems," the secretary-general said.

He said an additional river unit and shore-based radar equipment are also required "to provide enhanced coverage on lakes and rivers in the Kivus."


- AP

Tags usa drc congo

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...