SA troops moved for new DRC mission

2013-04-01 21:55
M23 Rebels. (AFP)

M23 Rebels. (AFP)

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Kinshasa - Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo hit out on Monday at a move by the United Nations to deploy a peacekeeping brigade to the country's restive east, saying it was instead choosing to "make war".

The new brigade, which will support the UN mission Monusco already present in the country, is set to be deployed by the end of this month, DR Congo's Foreign Affairs Minister Raymond Tshibanda announced on Monday.

Tshiband said that the first South African troops to form the brigade had already been transferred from Monusco and were already in place.

They will be joined by troops from Tanzania and Malawi.

"This is the war option that the United Nations is exercising," said the political leader and spokesperson of the M23 rebel movement, Bertrand Bisimwa.

The United Nations has chosen "to make war against one of its partners for peace", he said, instead of "encouraging a political solution" through talks in the Ugandan capital Kampala between the rebels and DR Congo's government.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved the creation of a brigade of more than 2 500 troops to curb violent unrest in the resource-rich eastern provinces of North and South Kivu.

The resolution's mandate to conduct "targeted offensive operations" has never been given to a peacekeeping mission before, diplomats said.

The force is to put an end to unrest in the region, which has been gripped by conflict between armed groups for more than two decades.

A statement from Kinshasha in response to M23's comments on Monday said the rebels should quit, as they "go from one failure to the next".

"Now it's more failure, tomorrow it will be bullets from the brigade. There is still time for our M23 brothers to disband," government spokesperson Lambert Mende told a press conference.

Read more on:    un  |  drc  |  central africa

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