News / Africa

    UN: Congo Army Still Undisciplined

    Fighting for control of the capital of Congo's Equateur province has revived concerns about the strength of Kinshasa's army

    United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (file)
    United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (file)

    Fighting for control of the capital of Congo's Equateur province has revived concerns about the strength of Kinshasa's army at a time when United Nations peacekeepers will start withdrawing in June.  President Joseph Kabila's government says its troops will be ready by the time all UN soldiers are gone next year.

    Ethnic Enyele rebels surprised government troops and U.N. peacekeepers with their attack on Mbandaka.  They briefly held the governor's office and the airport before last week's joint counter-attack drove them back into the bush.

    But the speed with which this violence has grown from a dispute over local fishing rights to a series of ambushes and this strike on Mbandaka shows the fragile state of Congolese security, even outside the more volatile eastern Kivu regions.

    U.N. peacekeepers in Kivu are expected to remain at least through next year.  But troops in the west are expected to begin pulling out by June, when Congo celebrates 50 years of independence from Belgian colonialism.

    The U.N. Secretary General's Deputy Special Representative for Congo, Leila Zerrougui, says the government has made clear the withdrawal of the MONUC peacekeeping force will remain on schedule.

    Zerrougui says she is not saying the situation in Congo does not require the continuing presence of U.N. peacekeepers, but MONUC cannot deploy if the government refuses their presence.

    With nearly 22,000 troops this is the biggest U.N. peacekeeping mission.  It has played a central role in restoring order in Congo, following two wars between 1998 and 2003 that resulted in the deaths of at least one-million people.

    But Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende says MONUC troops in Mbandaka failed to protect civilians during this month's fighting.  He says the rebel attack should not delay MONUC's withdrawal because Congo's army will be ready to handle its own security when the last U.N. soldiers leave.

    Mende says the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are recovering, little by little, their ability to take responsibility for defending the country, like a traditional army.  An army that will be ready and operational in a year, a year and half from now - the time given U.N. peacekeepers to make their gradual withdrawal.

    The head of MONUC peacekeepers, Alan Doss, told the Security Council this week that there remain substantial structural shortfalls in a force drawn from both the remnants of the army of long-time dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and various militia who fought against Mobutu.

    "Discipline is likely to remain a constant concern as long as the structural problems of the Congolese Army are not fully resolved, including persistent delays in the payment of salaries, insufficient supplies and a very low level of training of many troops, especially those who have been integrated from the various armed groups," said Doss.

    Doss says Congo's army has taken some important measures to improve discipline as the number of soldiers prosecuted for crimes against civilians has increased substantially.  But he says military impunity is still an area that needs significant improvement as part of overall efforts to reform Congo's security sector.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora