DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi seeks withdrawal of UN peacekeepers from year’s end
President says over 25 years Monusco has failed to cope with the rebellions and armed conflicts
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi said in his address to the UN General Assembly he had asked his government to fast-track the withdrawal of a peacekeeping mission to ensure it begins at the end of the year.
The mission, called Monusco, took over from an earlier UN operation in 2010 to help quell insecurity in eastern DRC, where armed groups fight over territory and resources. It has a staff strength of more than 17,000 in the DRC, comprising 14,000 military personnel, according to data last updated on its website in February.
But its presence has become increasingly unpopular in recent years for what critics say is a failure to protect civilians against militia groups, sparking deadly protests.
"It is to be deplored that peacekeeping missions deployed for 25 years ... have failed to cope with the rebellions and armed conflicts," Tshisekedi told the assembly in a speech on Wednesday.
"This is why ... I instructed the government of the republic to begin discussions with the UN authorities for an accelerated withdrawal of Monusco … by bringing forward the start of this progressive withdrawal from December 2024 to December 2023," he said.
More than 40 people were killed and dozens wounded in an army crackdown on violent anti-UN demonstrations in the eastern city of Goma last month. Another protest in July 2022 resulted in more than 15 deaths, including three peacekeepers in Goma and the city of Butembo.
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