United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
|Org type||Peacekeeping Mission|
|Acronyms||MONUSCO (formerly MONUC)|
|Established||30 November 1999|
|Parent org||United Nations Security Council|
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or MONUSCO (previously known as United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo or MONUC, French: Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo), is a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which was established by the United Nations Security Council in resolutions 1279 (1999) and 1291 (2000) of the United Nations Security Council to monitor the peace process of the Second Congo War, though much of its focus subsequently turned to the Ituri conflict, the Kivu conflict and the Dongo conflict.
The initial UN presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, before the passing of Resolution 1291, was a force of military observers to observe and report on the compliance on factions with the peace accords, a deployment authorised by the earlier Resolution 1258 (1999).
Since 1999, about US$ 8.73 billion have been spent to fund the UN peacekeeping effort in DRC. As of June 2010, the total strength of UN peacekeeping troops in DRC exceed 20,000. More than thirty nations have contributed military and police personnel for peacekeeping effort, with India being the single largest contributor. In June 2011, it was reported that India is preparing to gradually scale back its military commitment to MONUSCO.
The origin of this second United Nations military presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is found in the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement on the 17th of July 1999 and the following United Nations Security Council Resolution 1258 of August 6, 1999, authorizing the deployment of a maximum of 90 officers.
The first liaison officers arrived in the DRC on September 3, 1999. In November 1999 the number of liaison officers totaled 39, distributed in the capitals of the warring countries (Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia) including 24 who were stationed in Kinshasa. In January 2000 they reached the number of 79 and they were spread over the whole territory of DRC. Their mission was to liaise with all the warring factions, give a technical assistance and prepare the deployment of military observers.
On February 24, 2000 with the resolution 1291, the U.N. Security Council authorized the deployment of a maximum of 5537 military personnel in the DRC, including 500 military observers. On April 4, 2000 the Senegalese Major General Mountago Diallo was appointed as the commander of MONUC’s military force. The mandate is to monitor the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement and the redeployment of belligerent forces, to develop an action plan for the overall implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement, to work with the parties to obtain the release of all prisoners of war, military captives and the return of the remains, to facilitate humanitarian assistance and to assist the Facilitator of the National Dialogue.
Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter the U.N. Security Council authorized MONUC to take the necessary action, in the areas of deployment of its infantry battalions, to protect UN personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel, and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.
In December 2000 there were 224 military personnel deployed, including 148 observers in 13 points around the country. The observers could only record the non-application of the Ceasefire, the violent fighting at Kisangani and in the Equateur and Katanga provinces as well as the presence of foreign troops in the DRC. The deployment of UN troops was impossible due to the security situation and the reluctance of the Congolese government.
Even though the beginning of 2001 was still hampered by sporadic combat, the military observers could fulfill their mission in regards with the disengagement of forces and the withdrawal of some of the Rwandan and Ugandan forces.
In March 2001, the first Uruguayan guard unit arrived in Kalemie. The force was deployed in four sectors at Kananga, Kisangani, Kalemie and Mbandaka. In July 2001, the force strength was of 2366 soldiers, including 363 military observers distributed in 22 cities and 28 teams monitoring the disengagement of forces. The contingent soldiers totaled 1869. They came from South Africa, Uruguay, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia. Guard units protected MONUC installations in Kinshasa, Kananga, Kisangani, Kalemie, Goma and Mbandaka. A Uruguayan riverine unit and a South African air medical evacuation team were also deployed. The deployed troops were only to protect the sites against looting and theft, the force had neither the mandate nor the strength to protect the civilian population, or even to extract MONUC personnel. Following the Security Council Resolution 1355, the military observers, within their capacities, could also contribute to the voluntary disarmament, demobilization, repatriation and reintegration process of the armed groups.
In 2002, the 450 military observers, split in 95 teams, continued to monitor the Ceasefire along the ex-frontlines. The teams also investigated violations of the Ceasefire. Foreign troops continued to leave the country. The riverine units escorted the first ships on the Congo river, which was again open to commercial traffic. In June 2002 the blue helmets' total number was 3804. Contingents from Ghana and Bolivia joined the force, of which more than a third of the soldiers were Uruguayan. More than a thousand soldiers were deployed in Kisangani. On May 14, 2002, a military observer died near Ikela following the explosion of a mine under his vehicle.
On the 30th of July 2002, the different parties signed the Pretoria agreement. The nature of the mission of the peacekeepers changed. The military observers monitored the withdrawal of 20 000 Rwandan soldiers, but they also noted the rise of ethnic violence in Ituri. At the end of 2002 there were a total of 4200 UN soldiers in the DRC. By Resolution 1445 the Security Council authorized the increase of military personnel to 8500. The principle of two independent intervention forces was also approved. MONUC had to support the voluntary disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration and resettlement (DDRRR) process, but without using force.
Numerous DDRRR operations in collaboration with the civilian component were conducted in the beginning of 2003. Before the start of the transition, UN soldiers were deployed along the front lines. A vast redeployment to the East started. The four coordination centers and 22 bases in the western part of the country were shut down. Over a hundred observers were redeployed and Uruguayan contingents arrived in Bukavu and Lubero. Observer teams monitored serious combat and human rights violations in Ituri. In April 2003, 800 Uruguayan soldiers were deployed in Bunia under Resolution 1484. In the same month an observer died in a mine explosion. In May 2003 two military observers were savagely killed by a militia.
The withdrawal of 7000 Ugandan troops in April 2003 led to a deteriorating security situation in the Ituri region endangering the peace process. The U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called for establishing and deploying a temporary multi-national force to the area until the weakened MONUC mission could be reinforced. In his second special report to the Security Council, the U.N. Secretary General proposed a reorientation of MONUC missions: to provide support to the transition and to maintain security in key areas of the country. Accordingly he proposed the creation of a brigade in Ituri to support the peace process.
On 30 May 2003, the Security Council by its Resolution 1493 authorized the deployment of interim emergency multinational force in Bunia with a task to secure the airport, protect internally displaced persons in camps and the civilians in the town. Resolution 1493 authorized an increase of military personnel to 10 800, imposed and arms embargo and authorized MONUC to use all necessary means to fulfill its mandate in the Ituri district and, as it deemed it to be within its capabilities, also in North and South Kivu.
The French Government had already shown interest in leading the operation. It soon broadened to an EU-led mission with France as the framework nation providing the bulk of the personnel and complemented by contributions from both EU and non-EU nations. The total force consisted of about 1800 personnel and was supported by French aircraft based at N'Djamena and Entebbe airfields. A small 80 man Swedish Special Forces group (SSG) was also added.
The operation called Operation Artemis was launched on June 12 and the IMEF completed its deployment in the following three weeks. The force was successful in stabilising the situation in Bunia and enforcing the UN presence in the DRC. In September 2003, responsibility for the security of the region was handed over to the MONUC mission.
Growing military conflict in DRC caused the United Nations to seek additional military help from major powers. In July 2003, India announced that it would be sending an additional 300 personnel and combat aircraft from the Indian Air Force to strengthen the UN peacekeeping effort in DRC.
In September 2003, the Ituri brigade was in place, including soldiers from Uruguay, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, India and Morocco. In November 2003, a total of 10,415 peacekeepers were in the DRC, comprising infantry units, engineer units, helicopter units, logistic units, medical units and riverine units.
Deploying the Ituri brigade conducting cordon and search operations improved the security conditions in Ituri, but at the same time the peacekeepers became the target of the militias. On February 12, 2004, a military observer was killed in Ituri.
With the arrival of the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which included members of rebel movements, more than 900 Tunisian and Ghanaian blue helmets contributed to the security of Kinshasa.
It was decided that the troops present in the Kivus will be assembled under the unified command of a brigade. In March the Nigerian General Sumaila Ilya took over the command of the force.
In June 2004, Bukavu was occupied by rebel general Laurent Nkunda. A military observer was killed. The 1000 MONUC troops could only protect their own installations. Demonstrations were held all over the country, forcing blue helmets to open fire on looters in Kinshasa. MONUC soldiers were again targeted by Ituri militia at the end of 2004.
Though the Secretary General had asked for an increase of 13,100 soldiers, in October 2004 the Security Council by Resolution 1565, authorized a reinforcement of 5,900 military personnel and defines the mandate which is still valid today. The strategic military objectives of the MONUC force were:
- proactively contributing to the pacification and general improvement of security in the country;
- providing support for conflict resolution in politically volatile areas;
- improving border security through regional confidence-building mechanisms, such as the Joint Verification Mechanism, and effective patrolling and monitoring of the arms embargo;
- gathering and analyzing military and other information on spoilers.
By 2005, the strength of UN peacekeeping forces in Congo reached more than 16,000 troops, split almost equally between the Western Brigade and the Eastern Division.
In February 2005, the mission deplores the deaths of 9 Bangladeshi blue helmets killed during an ambush in Ituri. The actions of the Ituri and Kivu Brigades become more robust and the pressure rises on all armed groups. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots, and other militia leaders were arrested by Congolese authorities and imprisoned in Makala, Kinshasa. Lubanga was accused of having ordered the killing of the peacekeepers in February 2005 and of being behind continuous insecurity in the area. On 10 February 2006, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Lubanga for the war crime of "conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities". The Congolese national authorities transferred Lubanga to ICC custody on 17 March 2006.
On 1 March 2005, a vast cordon and search operation in Ituri was conducted by Nepalese, Pakistani and South African Infantry elements with the support of Indian attack helicopters, between 50 and 60 militiamen were killed.
Senegalese General Babacar Gaye was appointed force commander in March 2005 after Spanish General Vincente Diaz de Villegas resigned for personal reasons.
In May 2005, the U.N. Secretary General asked for a supplementary brigade for Katanga. Joint operations were conducted by the newly arrived integrated brigades of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC). Blue helmets were tasked with the support of the electoral process, contributing protection and transport. In Ituri over 15000 militiamen were disarmed.
In October 2005, by Resolution 1635, the U.N. Security Council authorized a temporary increase of 300 military personnel to permit a deployment to Katanga.
On April 25, 2006, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1671, authorising the temporary deployment of a European Union force to support MONUC during the period encompassing the general elections in the DR Congo, which began on July 30, 2006.
The European Council approved the launching of the EU military operation, EUFOR RD Congo, and appointed Lieutenant General Karlheinz Viereck (Germany) Operation Commander and Major General Christian Damay (France) EU Force Commander. The Operational Headquarters was the German-nominated Armed Forces Operational Command - Einsatzführungskommando - at Potsdam, Germany. The mission was tasked with:
- supporting and providing security to MONUC installations and personnel;
- contributing to airport protection in Kinshasa;
- contributing to the protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
- evacuation operations in case of emergency.
This mission came to an end on November 30, 2006.
In August 2008, an internal investigation led by the Indian Army and other MONOU officers revealed that about ten Indian peacekeepers may have been involved in abuse and exploitation in Congo. Earlier in May 2008, the vice chief of the Indian Army visited Congo to look into these allegations and by August 2008, the Indian Army had launched an official probe to look into these allegations.
On October 26, 2008 Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD) forces of Laurent Nkunda seized a major military camp, along with Virunga National Park for use as a base to launch attacks from. This occurred after a peace treaty failed, with the resultant fighting displacing thousands. The park was taken due to its strategic location on a main road leading to the city of Goma.
On October 27, 2008 riots began around the United Nations compound in Goma, and civilians pelted the building with rocks and threw Molotov cocktails, claiming that the UN forces had done nothing to prevent the RCD advance. The Congolese national army also retreated under pressure from the rebel army in a "major retreat".
Meanwhile, United Nations gunships and armoured vehicles were used in an effort to halt the advance of the rebels, who claim to be within 7 miles (11 kilometers) of Goma. Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for DRC Alan Doss explained the necessity of engaging the rebels, stating that "...[the UN] can't allow population centers to be threatened... [the UN] had to engage."
Indian Army personnel were asked to deploy themselves from Goma to adjoining North Kivu province, after the Uruguayan battalion deployed in the region fled. However, after that several Uruguayan battalions were playing a crucial role in the buffer zone between the retreating government soldiers and the advancing rebels.
On 29 October 2008, a French request for an EU reinforcement of 1,500 troops was refused by several countries and appeared unlikely to materialize; however, the UN forces stated they would act to prevent takeovers of population centers.
In November 2008, India announced that it would sending 3rd battalion of the elite 3rd Gurkha regiment to join the peace-keeping effort in Congo. India made the decision to send its elite forces amidst rising concerns that Indian peace-keepers were getting caught in the cross-fire between DRC government troops and rebels.
On November 18, a draft resolution spearheaded by the French Foreign Ministry was presented before the United Nations Security Council. The resolution, signed by 44 different organizations and with the backing of the British Foreign Office minister Mark Malloch Brown, asked the UN to send 3,000 more peacekeepers to reinforce the 17,000-strong garrison in the Congo, which is the largest garrison of its kind. This was similar to the pleas of Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian aid groups in the region, who were also asking for reinforcements to bring stability to the area. In a shared statement, the coalition of organizations stated that "[The reinforcements] would help to prevent the atrocities that continue to be committed against civilians on an ever greater scale here in North Kivu [province], on the border of Rwanda and Uganda... Since August 28, fighting has intensified in many areas, causing deaths, rapes, lootings, forced recruitment and further displacements of civilian populations. The population has thus been immersed in unspeakable suffering. In the last few days, fighting has drawn closer to large populated areas, such as the town of Goma. Fighting has also invaded and torn apart the region of Rutshuru, particularly in the town of Kiwanja, where hundreds of civilian deaths have now been recorded." Local groups in the Congo also requested help from the European Union, as they would be able to deploy soldiers sooner, working as a "bridging force" until the UN reinforcements arrived. British EU spokeswoman Catriona Little stated that they were "not ruling in or out EU forces".
On November 20, the UN voted unanimously to send 3,085 more peacekeepers, citing "extreme concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and in particular the targeted attacks against civilian population, sexual violence, recruitment of child soldiers and summary executions." However, it did not extend MONUC's mandate in the Congo, which expires at the end of 2008. The decision was made despite the rebel commitment to pulling back from the front lines and allowing aid to reach the thousands of people still isolated, according to aid groups.
However, a week after the UN vote, the DRC government requested the UN to not deploy any more Indian troops in the east of the country, arguing that there was a need to "redress the balance" of the make-up of the 17,000-strong UN force in the country.
On the 17th February, Egypt announced that it will send around 1,325 soldiers from the Egyptian Army to support the UN mission in Congo. Egypt also announced that it will send a police force to help in protecting the UN mission in Congo. The Egyptian armed force will work to give support and technical advice to the Congo Army beside operating armed mission in the conflict zones and medical assistant and support. According to the Foreign affairs in Cairo, Egypt will send a Mechanized Unit, Special Forces, Field Engineers, and Paratroops. Egypt already has a small unit in Congo consisting of 13 policemen and 23 observers.
In March 2009, the Indian Army questioned more than 100 Indian troops deployed in DRC regarding the abuse allegations against them. After a thorough investigation, which included examination of statements by alleged victims, the Indian Army found "serious irregularities" in charges raised by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services. Consequently, all of the accused personnel were let off due to lack of evidence.
In October 2009, India announced a US$263 million aid package to Congo to help the country's information technology, hydroelectricity and railway sectors. India also renewed its military commitments to MONUC while Congo expressed its support for India's UNSC permanent seat candidature. These developments helped thaw relations between the two countries.
In December, MONUC rushed peacekeeping troops to Dongo in the Kungu territory of Sud-Ubangi District where a new conflict rapidly escalated in an effort to protect the local population. A MONUC helicopter that was restocking the 20 troops stationed there fell under gunfire from armed men. The helicopter crew, all of Russian nationality, facilitated the evacuation of 25 people, including 5 injured people (including the helicopter pilot), who were brought to Brazzaville for emergency medical treatment.
Sources in Kinshasa reported that in mid-November DRC President Joseph Kabila secretly airlifted a battalion of Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) across Congo to put down the rebellion in Dongo and the operation was supported by the United Nations Observes Mission in Congo (MONUC) and the United States Africa Command. Along with RDF regulars, MONUC troops have been fighting alongside Tutsi Rwandan soldiers infiltrated by Rwanda, with the Kabila government's support, into the national army, the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC).
At the weekly MONUC press conference of 16 December 2009, it was announced by MONUC spokesperson Madnodje Mounoubai that the first MONUC peacekeeping troops were deployed in Dongo, where a temporary operational basis is functional, as well as in nearby Bozene. The 500 MONUC troops will come from the Ghanaian, Tunisian and Egyptian contingents as well as troops from the Guatemalan Special Forces. Military equipment such as armored personnel carriers, transport and combat helicopters will also be at their disposal to support their mission.
In August 2010, the Mai Mai rebels ambushed a base of the 19th Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army, killing three Indian peace-keepers. The attack renewed calls in India to decrease the country's military presence in Congo due to growing conflict in the region.
In May 2011, the international cooperation minister of DRC expressed his government's desire of an "orderly, progressive withdrawal" of MONUSCO due to "normalization" of DRC's relations with neighboring countries and containment of rebels to a "few isolated zones".
In June 2011, the UN announced that it would withdraw about 2,000 peace-keepers by the end of the month. The UN announcement came only a few days after India's decision to withdraw all of its four Mi-35 combat helicopters from MONUSCO and eventually cease peace-keeping operations in DRC.
On 15 November, MONUSCO helicopter gunships were deployed to support government forces as they fought to hold off a March 23 Movement attack south of Kibumba; the combined army and UN assault killed approximately 64 M23 fighters.
On 20 November 2012, March 23 Movement seized the provincial capital of Goma after the national army retreated. MONUSCO troops observed without intervening, as their mandate only allowed them to protect civilians. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the situation "absurd", noting MONUSCO's greatly superior numbers, and called for the group's mandate to be revised.UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey said peacekeepers "cannot substitute" for the Congo national army, adding that the 1,500 UN troops in Goma held their fire because they did not want to risk civilian lives.
The headquarters of the mission are in Kinshasa, DRC. The mission views the DRC as consisting of 6 sectors, each with its own staff headquarters. In 2005-6 the Eastern Division however was formed at Kisangani and took over brigades in North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri, along with two or three of the Sector HQs.
The approved budget for MONUC, from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, is US$1,166.72 million, the largest for any current UN peacekeeping operation.
- Mountaga Diallo (Senegal) : March 2000 - January 2004
- Samaila Iliya (Nigeria) : January 2004 - February 2005
- Babacar Gaye (Senegal) : February 2005 - July 2010
- Chander Prakash (India) : July 2010 - present
- MONUC HQ: Kinshasa
- Sector 1: Mbandaka
- Sector 2 and Eastern Division HQ: Kisangani
- Sector 3: Kananga
- Sector 4: Kalemie
- Sector 5: Kindu
- Sector 6: Bunia
Force numbers and fatalities
In July 2004 there were 10,531 UN soldiers under MONUC's command. On 1 October 2004, the UN Security Council decided to deploy 5,900 more soldiers to Congo, although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had asked for some 12,000.
On 25 February 2005, nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers were killed by members of the Nationalist and Integrationist Front militia in Ituri province. The FNI killed another Nepali peacekeeper and took seven captive in May 2006. Two of the seven were released in late June and the UN was trying to secure the release of the remaining five. By November 2005, MONUC consisted of 16,561 uniformed troops. On July 30, 2006, MONUC forces were charged with keeping the 2006 general election—the first multiparty election in the DRC since 1960—peaceful and orderly. MONUC troops began patrolling areas of eastern DRC after armed clashes broke on 5 August following the chaotic collection of election results. The UN command is also arranging different training programmes and competitions in Congo for both Congo and international forces. A similar shooting competition was held between troops from all international forces and was won by a Pakistani infantry battalion.
Total strength, on 31 October 2007 was 18,407 uniformed personnel, including 16,661 troops, 735 military observers, 1,011 police, who were supported by 931 international civilian personnel, 2,062 local civilian staff and 585 United Nations Volunteers.
The UN has recorded a total of 161 fatalities among MONUC personnel, up to 1 July 2010, as follows: 100 military personnel, 10 military observers, 6 UN police, 12 international civilians, and 30 local civilians.
Staff and forces
On 31 October 2007 MONUC had a total of 18,407 uniformed personnel, including 16,661 troops, 735 military observers, 1,011 police, who were supported by 931 international civilian personnel, 2,062 local civilian staff and 585 United Nations Volunteers. Major troop contributors are India, Pakistan and Uruguay (nearly 10,000).
On November 20, 2008, the United Nations security council voted unanimously to reinforce MONUC with 3,085 more peacekeepers to deal with trouble in the 2008 Nord-Kivu conflict. They voted after 44 organizations, led by the French Foreign Ministry, petitioned the council to send reinforcements to stabilize the region.
As of 31 August 2011[update] MONUSCO forces included 19,084 uniformed personnel, out of which 16,998 were military personnel, 743 were military observers and 1,343 were police (including formed units). In addition the forces included 983 international civilian personnel, 2,828 local civilian staff and 600 UN volunteers.
- Special Representative of the Secretary-General: Roger Meece ( United States)
- Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary-General: Leila Zerrougui ( Algeria)
- Deputy Special Representatives of the Secretary-General: Fidele Sarassoro ( Ivory Coast)
- Force Commander: Lieutenant General Chander Prakash ( India)
- Police Commissioner: Abdallah Wafy ( Niger)
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||0||4||0||4|
|Central African Republic||0||0||7||7|
International civilian employees and volunteers, and DRC nationals: 2,636
In 2005, the BBC discovered that the Pakistani MONUC peacekeepers in Mongbwalu entered in a trading relationship for gold with Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) militia leaders, eventually drawing Congolese army officers and Indian traders from Kenya into the deal.
In May 2008, Africa Confidential reported that some personnel of the Indian Army stationed in DRC had six of 44 allegations of improper relations with the FDLR. These allegations included — using a UN helicopter to fly into Virunga National Park to swap ammunition for ivory with rebels; fraternising with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and failing to seize its weapons; exchanging UN rations for dollars and gold; buying marijuana from the FDLR; failing to support FDLR disarmament; arresting an FDLR rebel after he had supplied counterfeit gold to the Indian troops, and abusing him until the money was returned. The source of the allegations was reported as internal United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) documents.
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