UN peacekeepers plan to fight against rebels in Congo

UN peacekeeping mission to take action against rebels on its own in Congo after plans for a joint operation with the Congolese army fell through

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission is planning to move against a rebel group in eastern Congo without cooperating with the Congo military after plans for a joint operation with the Congolese army fell through - the peacekeeping mission chief of the UN, Herve Ladsous, told Associated Press (AP) on Thursday.

The UN cancelled a planned joint operation, saying the two Congolese generals in charge have been involved in "massive human rights violations."

UN officials demanded that the two generals, who are on a UN blacklist of serious rights violators, be discharged.

Ladsous told they “at least would need enough cooperation to avoid friendly fire risk” if both the UN and Congo’s army start operation at the same time against the rebels, known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Ladsous said his recent visit to Congo brought no improvement over the issue.

After two Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed and 13 were wounded in an ambush by suspected rebels on Tuesday, a new concern was raised. On Monday, gunfire hit a helicopter carrying the mission's force commander, AP reported.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo has a unique mandate to take offensive military action against rebel groups that have ruined the region since the Rwandan genocide two decades ago.

FDLR was established by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda following the 1994 genocide of 800,000 people, mostly minority Tutsis.

Despite being empowered by the UN Security Council in the past not providing details of the UN mission’s planned offensive, Ladsous told reporters that they would need at least a minimum level of cooperation from the Congolese army against FDLR.

Two FDLR leaders are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

TRTWorld and agencies