News / Africa

UN Security Council Approves Special Force for DRC

FILE - Hervé Ladsous, head of U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, October 6, 2011.
FILE - Hervé Ladsous, head of U.N. Peacekeeping Operations, October 6, 2011.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations Security Council has authorized a special “intervention brigade” to pursue armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as part of its peacekeeping operation in that country.  

The council says its move is not to be considered a “precedent” for U.N. peacekeeping operations, but the force of about 3,000 troops from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania has offensive duties not typical of regular peacekeepers.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Hervé Ladsous said this type of specialized brigade within a peacekeeping mission could be an important new tool in combating violence against civilians.

“This of course, is a very new tool, because it means for the first time that there will be a peace enforcement capacity which will carry out targeted offensive operations, either in support of the Congolese army or unilaterally in order to neutralize the armed groups - the negative forces that have created so much suffering over the years," said  Ladsous.

The U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the force, adopted unanimously on Thursday, tasks it with preventing the expansion of armed groups, such as the M23, neutralizing and disarming them in a bid to stabilize the conflict-wracked region.

The peacekeeping chief said it will be a “deterrent aided by muscle,” and he hopes, a turning point in the two-decade-old conflict.

The foreign minister of Congo attended Thursday’s meeting and welcomed the new addition to the U.N. mission, which is known by its French acronym MONUSCO.

But the creation of the intervention brigade has not been without controversy.  Although all 15 council members voted in favor of it, there were some concerns expressed about how it will work. Guatemalan Ambassador Gert Rosenthal voiced his reservations.

“Our concern is that all of MONUSCO runs the risk of indirectly being converted into a peace enforcement mission, which raises many conceptual considerations, as well as operational and legal considerations, which we feel were not sufficiently explored in the course of negotiations of this text," said Rosenthal.

Rwanda, which has been accused of supporting rebels in eastern Congo, is currently a member of the Security Council and voted in favor of the brigade, saying it hoped the council would “finally be able to free itself of preconceived ideas from the past” and “distance itself from the policy of scapegoats.”

Thursday’s resolution extends the mandate of the MONUSCO mission for another year and authorizes the use of unmanned aerial vehicles - often referred to as drones - for surveillance.

Drones are often armed, but these will be unarmed and used to collect information on violations of the arms embargo and movements of rebel groups in border areas.  Peacekeeping officials have previously said they hope to have three UAVs in Congo very soon.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the DRC is one of its largest, with nearly 20,000 military personnel.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures. For now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid