U.N. authorizes special brigade for Congo

March 29, 2013 at 8:47 AM

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, March 29 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing an intervention force to target armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The troops will carry out operations against armed groups threatening peace in the eastern part of the African country, the United Nations said Thursday in a release.

The objectives of the new force of 3,069 peacekeepers based in North Kivu province are to neutralize armed groups, reduce the threat they pose and create conditions for stabilization, the United Nations said.

The brigade will support the political objectives of an agreement for the DRC and the region signed last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, U.N. officials said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement the resolution "sets out a new, comprehensive approach aimed at addressing the root causes of instability in the eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region."

Herve Ladsous, undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, said the resolution "could be significant turning point in the handling of the crisis that for many years the DRC has experienced."

About 500,000 people have fled the eastern DRC since April 2012, the start of a rebellion by M23, made up of fighters who deserted from the Congolese army after a mutiny.

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