UN Peacekeepers To Leave Congo After 25 Years In The Country

What You Need To Know:

United Nations peacekeepers stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo are set to withdraw, as confirmed by Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This marks the conclusion of the Monusco mission, initially deployed 25 years ago by the UN to stabilize the region.

In a report to the UN Security Council, Guterres stated that Monusco’s departure is imminent.

Despite having been extended last year, Monusco’s mission, which involves over 15,000 soldiers and officers, has faced criticism and protests in Eastern Congo.

The Details:

Civilians have criticized the UN peacekeeping mission for being slow to address the threat posed by armed groups.

Guterres mentioned that Monusco is entering its final phase in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the plan is for an accelerated withdrawal, despite the worsening conditions.

In the same report, the UN Secretary-General warned that a premature departure of Monusco could have serious consequences for civilian protection in the region.

The timing coincides with the upcoming general election scheduled for December in the DRC. The election occurs amid renewed hostilities from armed groups in the country’s restive eastern region, which has experienced instability for decades.

Monusco, which has adapted over the years, was first deployed 25 years ago.

The Congolese authorities, along with the UN, agreed on a gradual withdrawal by the end of 2024, as outlined in a 2020 UN Security Council resolution.

Several Monusco offices have already been closed.

This decision follows protests in July 2022 against Monusco’s presence in North Kivu, which resulted in fatalities, including peacekeepers.

Despite President Félix Tshisekedi’s claim that Monusco’s presence would no longer be needed after the December 2023 presidential election, uncertainty surrounds the elections due to budget struggles, with at least $500 million required.

Interestingly, this move to defy the peacekeeping mission occurs as security and humanitarian conditions worsen, particularly in North Kivu and Ituri, where armed groups continue to attack civilians.

The most challenging situation is in eastern DRC, where Monusco forces are active. The UN Security Council extended Monusco’s mandate due to armed group prevalence and pledged support for Kinshasa’s political resolution and institutional reconstruction.

The Council urged all Congolese armed groups to participate in seeking political conditions through the East African Community-led Nairobi process, aiming for disarmament and stabilization.

Guterres’ report highlighted escalating tensions in eastern DRC and a deteriorating humanitarian situation, marked by forced displacement and a distressing increase in acts of sexual violence against children.

The Filthy American
The Filthy American
Formerly a resident of Iraqi Kurdistan during the Iraq war, now in the American south. European Division Desk Chief for Atlas News.


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