News / Africa

Drones Bolster UN Peacekeeping Capabilities

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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid