UN mulls using drones in DRC conflict

2012-11-23 22:09


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


The United Nations wants to use drones for the first time to monitor fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where Rwanda has been accused of aiding rebels, officials said on Friday.

Peacekeeping chiefs have been in contact with the governments of DR Congo and of Rwanda about the sensitive move, which could set a precedent that would worry other United Nations members, diplomats said.

UN leaders are looking for ways to strengthen their peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, Monusco, where guerrillas from the M23 rebel movement have taken over much of mineral-rich North Kivu province.

UN experts say Rwanda and Uganda have sent troops and arms across the border. Both strongly deny the allegations.

The UN "is considering a range of ways to strengthen the capabilities of Monusco to protect civilians from the threat of armed groups in the vast area of eastern DR Congo", UN peacekeeping spokesperson Kieran Dwyer told AFP.

"Unarmed aerial vehicles, drones for monitoring the movements of armed groups, are one tool we are considering," he said.

"Of course, we would do this carefully, in full cooperation with the government of the DR Congo, and trialing their most effective uses for information gathering to help implement our mandate to protect civilians."

"Ultimately, to introduce these, we would need the support of member states to equip the mission," Dwyer said.

While the drones would not halt the current M23 advance, the UN is also considering bringing in extra troops and redeploying its current force. UN leader Ban Ki-moon is to recommend options to the UN Security Council soon.

Monusco currently has about 17 500 troops but could go up to about 19 500 under its Security Council mandate.

"The UN has approached a number of countries, including the United States and France, about providing drones which could clearly play a valuable role monitoring the frontier," said one UN diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Clearly there will be political considerations though," the diplomat added.

"This is controversial, not all countries agree with this," said Olivier Nduhungirehe, first counselor for Rwanda's UN mission.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  monusco  |  m23  |  drc  |  central africa

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

16 stats and facts: Springboks v USA
Bryan Habana closing in on try record
Meyer lauds ‘new’ Bok 9 and 10
VIDEO: Bok fans belt out national anthem
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.