Special brigade in DRC under scrutiny

May 31, 2013 at 11:53 AM
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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 31 (UPI) -- More than a dozen human rights groups expressed concern about the deployment of a peacekeeping unit that has a force mandate in DRC.

The U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of a so-called intervention brigade within the peacekeeping mission in Democratic Republic of Congo. The brigade has the authority to conduct offensive operations to ensure regional stability.

A group of 19 non-governmental organizations sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pressing for more support for a regional effort to secure the peace in DRC and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

The letter calls on the Security Council to "seriously consider suspension of the (intervention) brigade if it does not perform well or if the Congolese government does not make sufficient progress in implementing its commitments," the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN reports.

The March 23 Movement mutinied last year, saying the DRC government reneged on peace deals. M23 seized parts of North Kivu province briefly last year. The United Nations suspects M23 has resumed its offensive in response to the deployment of the intervention brigade.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said last week that more than a dozen civilians, including five children, were injured when rockets hit their community near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

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