News / Africa

Drones Bolster UN Peacekeeping Capabilities

TEXT SIZE - +
Margaret Besheer
— The United Nations is preparing to send at least three unarmed aerial vehicles - commonly known as drones - to bolster its peacekeeping mission in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  Force commanders from other U.N. missions say advanced technology could also help their operations.

As rebels, terrorists and other dangerous elements obtain more sophisticated weaponry and equipment, the U.N. is working to stay a step ahead in its efforts to combat threats from such groups.

Currently, it is planning to send several unarmed aerial vehicles - UAVs or drones - to assist its 20,000 peacekeepers in the eastern Congo.

Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, who is the Force Commander for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in DRC, MONUSCO, says he hopes the UAVs will be fully operational by September.

The commander told the U.N. Security Council during a peacekeeping meeting on Wednesday that they want to use the UAVs to identify where the armed groups are and to provide early warning of their movements.  He said with a drone’s ability to hover over an area for 10 to 12 hours, it could detect imminent threats to civilian populations.
 
“They will help in deterring hostile action by the armed groups and will trigger the use of quick reaction forces,” Cruz said.

He said the mission is already using ground-based radar and other advanced military technologies in the Congo to provide better awareness of activity in the area.
Asked about the use of UAV’s in U.N. peacekeeping, Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi, Force Commander of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, told reporters he would welcome this technology.

“It can really help identify flashpoints in time so that the proper processes would be engaged to mitigate conflict, so it is a welcome idea,” Sakyi said.

Commander Sakyi said currently his mission collects information through patrols and with an infrared camera mounted on a helicopter.  He said the mission only has one of these cameras and would like more.  Such equipment would be particularly useful in a country like South Sudan with its vast size and lack of roads.

There are about 11,000 peacekeepers in south Lebanon, monitoring the so-called Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel.  Major General Paolo Serra commands that mission, UNIFIL.  He said having new technology would be very useful.
“UNIFIL would like to have an enhancing technology - and I think about cameras, I think about mobile capabilities in order to better check the Blue Line,” Serra said.

If the use of UAVs is successful in eastern Congo, they could be employed in other missions to monitor cease-fires, borders and arms embargoes, and could eventually reduce the need for as many peacekeepers on the ground.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid