News24

UN begins Congo withdrawal

2010-06-16 17:05

Kinshasa - A United Nations official in Congo says the first group of UN peacekeepers scheduled to withdraw from the chaotic Central African country is leaving.

Peacekeeping mission spokesperson Alain Likota says 230 peacekeepers from Senegal had left or are scheduled to leave by the end of Wednesday.

The UN's biggest peacekeeping mission, known as Monuc, agreed to a request from Congolese President Joseph Kabila to send home some 2 000 peacekeepers before June 30. The date marks the 50th anniversary of Congo's independence from Belgium.

The UN mission will continue until mid-2011 with some 21 000 military personnel, observers and police.

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes has warned that violence may spiral out of control if the peacekeepers all leave.