UN mulls using drones in DRC conflict

2012-11-23 22:09


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.

  • mbulelo.pikoli - 2012-11-24 00:58

    That will be the way 2go,it 'll also expose those who r supporting M23 rebels

  • ffubupc.ffubu - 2012-11-24 04:22

    this is a total joke, who doesnt know that Rwanda and Uganda are supporting the rebel? even UN itself are also supporting rebel.we are tired of this political game

  • mmoledis - 2012-11-24 10:18

    Use of drones will also be good in resolving DRC problems, and all countries in UN which will be against that will then cast doubt to the world, as we will now be having a clear picture of who is really under the mess happening in DRC, if a country refuse use of that then it will be simple that they are the one involved in the operation of m23 in Congo and they do not want drones becasue they will disturb them in acomplishing their missiom in Congo of taking that countries minerals illegally and again displacing locals in order to be free from doing what they will be doing in Congo, mining in that country illegally for the benefit of their countries. Drones are needed and also inreasing of forces and closing of borders of Congo with Uganda and Rwanda and during the operation process if those rebels are captured then be sent straight to the haugue for trial and face the law and if allegations of Uganda and Rwanda are true then also they should be sanctioned by UN,EU and USA to teach them a lesson that they should abide and play by international laws, one which is not to interfear with internal issues or matters of another state.

  • cry.mashiane - 2012-11-24 10:20

    United Nations is a joke

  • jon.jones.90663894 - 2012-11-24 11:08

    Drones will not be the solution in themselves BUT they act as 'force multipliers'. They will get troops to where they are needed when they are needed so will raise their effectiveness enormously. And by targeting the leadership will slow down the rebels. BUT as we have seen 'political correctness' is more important than peoples lives. The thing to do is to ask WHICH countries are against drones and why. We just might find that these countries all have a certain religion in common. A 'peaceful' religion to boot.

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