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UN `intervention brigade' proposed for Congo

UN `intervention brigade' proposed for Congo

A proposed U.N. Security Council resolution would authorize a new "intervention brigade" to help bring peace to conflict-wracked eastern Congo by neutralizing and disarming rebel groups.
The draft resolution, circulated by France and obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, would give the brigade a mandate to carry out offensive operations alone or with Congolese army troops "in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner" to ensure that armed groups can't seriously threaten government authority or the security of civilians.
The brigade would be part of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, within its troop ceiling of 19,815. The United Nations currently has more than 17,700 U.N. peacekeepers and more than 1,400 international police in Congo.
The proposed resolution would extend MONUSCO's mandate until March 31, 2014 and authorize the "intervention brigade" for an initial period of one year, with headquarters in the key city of Goma. U.N. officials say it will probably include between 2,000 and 3,000 troops.
The draft resolution also demands that Congo and 10 other African nations implement a peace accord signed in late February "in good faith" and expresses the council's intention "to take appropriate action as necessary" against any party that doesn't comply with its commitments.
Under the peace deal, the signatories pledged not to interfere in the internal affairs of neighboring countries or provide any support to armed groups. The Congolese government pledged to reform its army and police, consolidate its authority in the volatile east and promote reconciliation, tolerance and democratization.
The signatories include Rwanda and Uganda, which were accused in a U.N. report last year of helping aid the M23 rebel group which swept through eastern Congo in 2012 and captured Goma in November but pulled out under international pressure. Both countries denied the allegations.
U.N. peacekeepers were unable to protect civilians from the M23 rebels, whose movement began in April 2012 when hundreds of troops defected from the Congolese armed forces.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report in February recommending an "intervention brigade" that the M23 rebellion underscored the continuing fragility of the situation in mineral-rich eastern Congo, which has been engulfed in fighting since the 1994 Rwanda genocide. But he said he is convinced the peace accord offers an opportunity for key nations to collectively address the underlying causes of the conflict in eastern Congo and the surrounding Great Lakes region and end the recurring violence.
The draft resolution strongly condemns the continued presence of the M23 in the immediate vicinity of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, and its attempts to establish "an illegitimate parallel administration" in North Kivu.
It demands that the M23 and other armed groups, including those seeking the "liberation" of Rwanda and Uganda, immediately halt all violence and disband. It also strongly condemns their continuing human rights abuses including summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence and large-scale recruitment and use of children.
In addition to disbanding armed groups, the draft resolution says the "intervention brigade" would monitor an arms embargo and observe and report on flows of military personnel, weapons and equipment across the border "including by using surveillance capabilities provided by unmanned aerial systems."
In January, the Security Council gave approval for deployment of unarmed surveillance drones for eastern Congo that would provide intelligence for the peace enforcement brigade as well as the larger U.N. peacekeeping force. U.N. officials expect them to be deployed at the beginning of the summer.


Updated : 2021-08-03 01:57 GMT+08:00