6 March 2018

Congo-Kinshasa: Congolese Rebels Exploit UN Mission's Weaknesses

Photo: Christian Jepsen/Norwegian Refugee Council
Displaced families shelter in a church in Tanganyika Province in the DR Congo.

Kinshasa — AN investigation into the killing of 15 United Nations peacekeepers by a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in December has established a lack of capacity in the peacekeeping mission.

In addition to the attack by Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) fighters, which left 43 wounded, with one still missing, the investigation also covered two earlier attacks against peacekeepers from Tanzania in September and October.

The special investigation team, which was established in January following the worst death toll of a UN mission, in the North Kivu Province, found a number of gaps in the training and posture of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).

Moreover, the investigation team that included military and security experts, political and logistical officers, noted that the mission did not have an actionable contingency plan to reinforce and extract its peacekeepers during the attack.

"Issues of command-and-control, leadership and lack of essential enablers such as aviation, engineers and intelligence were also major obstacles and need to be addressed urgently," the office of UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, stated.

The investigation team has recommended that MONUSCO and troop-contributing countries actively pursue strategies to render the FIB robust, agile and better suited for offensive operations especially in remote terrains.

MONUSCO has pledged to improve security of peacekeepers.

It has installed perimeter lighting, upgraded communications infrastructure and enhanced security perimeters at several of its bases.

The search is ongoing to find the missing peacekeeper from Tanzania.

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