UN Peacekeepers To Withdraw From DR Congo By End of 2024
After aiding in the war against rebels for more than 20 years, the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) will entirely leave the nation by the end of 2024. At a press conference in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula stated that the remaining UN soldiers are anticipated to leave the nation by December 31.
Thirty-six people were slain last week in numerous eastern towns of the country as hundreds of demonstrators set fire to and vandalized the mission’s facilities. Among those killed were four UN soldiers. After more than a decade of operation, the mission has been accused by the locals of not doing enough to shield them from the violent gang violence that has long afflicted the area. According to the administration, Mathias Gillmann’s remarks were “indelicate and inappropriate,” which exacerbated the tensions that existed between the populace and MONUSCO. According to the statement, “the Congolese government considers that this official’s presence on national territory is not likely to promote a climate of mutual trust and calm between Congolese institutions and MONUSCO.” Requests for response from Gillmann and the deputy spokesman for MONUSCO were not immediately answered.
Reasons for Withdrawal
The declaration follows the Congolese government’s demand for the UN mission to withdraw from the nation, claiming it had failed to safeguard people from armed groups. The government was just re-elected in a contentious election. The restive eastern regions of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri provinces are home to a multitude of armed organizations, such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and M23, where inhabitants are subjected to violence and displacement.
It is important to clarify that the pullout of MONUSCO does not equate to the disengagement of the UN. UN special envoy Bintou Keita assured the media during a briefing that the UN will be present before, during, and after the peacekeeping deployment. For identical reasons to the UN peacekeeping presence, the Congolese government has also ordered an East African regional force that was sent in last year to assist in putting an end to the war, to leave the nation.
There will be three stages to the withdrawal. By the end of April, some 2,000 UN soldiers will withdraw from South Kivu as part of the first phase, bringing the total number of MONUSCO soldiers to 11,500. It clarified that Congolese security forces will seize control of fourteen UN outposts located in the province.
Following that, troops from Ituri and North Kivu will also depart. Minister Lutundula stated, “We must continue to struggle to protect the territorial interests of our country; the withdrawal of MONUSCO does not necessarily mean the end of the fight we are undertaking to do so.” In order to assist reduce instability in the east of the Central African nation, where armed factions battle for territory and resources, MONUSCO took over from a previous UN operation in 2010. But people are less and less comfortable with its presence these days. The UN Security Council decided to phase out its peacekeeping missions gradually in a unanimous decision in December.
Impact and Concerns
Conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have resulted in the displacement of almost seven million people, mostly in the three eastern provinces where several armed groups still operate. In light of the demonstrations, the Congolese government also announced this week that it would review the mission’s exit strategy; MONUSCO stated that it agreed with this decision. According to a plan created last year, the mission is scheduled to leave by 2024, but the administration wants to leave sooner, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Christophe Lutundula.
In conclusion, No later than April, the UN operation, dubbed Monusco, will withdraw its military and police presence in the province of South Kivu. One of the UN’s most useful instruments for helping nations travel the treacherous road from violence to peace has shown to be peacekeeping. In addition to preserving peace and security, multifaceted peacekeeping operations are required to support political processes, safeguard civilians, aid in the demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration of former combatants, support constitutional processes and election organization, defend and advance human rights, and support the restoration of the rule of law and legitimate state authority.