GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Tuesday it launched a surveillance drone program to monitor the situation in the east of the country.
The U.N.'s Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo, known by its French initials MONUSCO, launched a drone from an airport in Goma in eastern DRC. Herve Ladsous, U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping operations, was on hand for the launch, the mission said.
The drone program for MONUSCO is a first for a U.N. peacekeeping mission. A so-called intervention brigade in DRC was mandated to use force to help the Congolese military fight rebels in the east of the control.
The rebel March 23 Movement seized control over Goma last year before withdrawing under U.N. supervision. M23 and the Congolese government recently brokered a truce, though human rights groups note the rebel movement was one of more than a dozen armed groups fighting in eastern DRC.
Ladsous said Monday the drone program was an important asset in the effort to ensure stability in the east of the country.
"Such high-technology systems allow a better knowledge of what is happening on the ground, which allows a force to better do its job," he said in a statement.