News / Africa

UN Brigade in DRC Not Magic Solution, Says Commander

TEXT SIZE - +
Nick Long
— The commander of the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo says the U.N.'s new intervention brigade in Congo is not a magic solution to the country's problems.  He says his priority is to stop atrocities, wherever they are happening in the east of the country. 

Brazilian Lieutenant-General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz took over as force commander of MONUSCO, the U.N. mission in Congo, in May.  His previous mission was as U.N. force commander in Haiti, where he took on criminal gangs.

The general’s arrival coincides with deployment of a 3,000-strong U.N. intervention brigade in eastern Congo, tasked with carrying out offensive operations to neutralize armed groups.  It’s the first time a contingent within a peacekeeping mission has been given such a mandate.

Unstable East

But eastern Congo has a myriad of militia and rebel groups that have kept eastern Congo unstable for years, and on Monday General Cruz warned against unrealistic expectations.

"It’s very important to know that the intervention brigade is one more tool in the mission in order to bring peace to this region.  But we need to be very realistic because it is not the magic solution to all the problems.  Everyone knows we need to have a political solution," he said.

The DRC government has a delegation at peace talks in Uganda with the rebel group M23, and this week there have been some reports of progress at the talks.

General Cruz said the mission would keep a close eye on the talks and would harmonize military action on the ground with the political conversation there.

He said neither M23 nor any other armed group is a priority target for the intervention brigade.

"Actually we don’t have priorities," he said. "If you have an armed group committing atrocities in Katanga or South Kivu or Ituri, for us it’s the priority because our main goal is to stop violence against the population."

Katanga, South Kivu and Ituri are three areas where M23 is not present.

On Saturday, MONUSCO troops opened fire on an armed group close to a U.N. checkpoint between the M23 and the Congolese army north of Goma.

MONUSCO says its troops at the checkpoint came under fire from unidentified combatants, believed to be from a Congolese Mai-Mai militia, who had attacked an M23 position.

The U.N. peacekeepers fired warning shots, and in an exchange of fire that followed, one of the combatants was killed, two were wounded and a child soldier was captured.

General Cruz said his men had followed their rules of engagement and their reaction was legal.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid