au revoir, monusco?

DRC: Is it time for the UN force in Congo to leave?

By Romain Gras

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Posted on August 30, 2022 13:51

The UN mission in the DRC is confronted by demonstrations demanding its departure. Long under pressure while Kabila was in power, it is now being pushed out by the Tshisekedi administration. Twenty-three years after its arrival in Congo, is it time for it to pack up? A deep dive into the operational difficulties of the UN’s most expensive operation – $1.5bn.

Mattresses piled on the heads of the demonstrators, chairs carried at arm’s length, sometimes even some imposing metal water tanks dragged along a dirt track…

On Tuesday 26 July, one of the bases of the United Nations Mission (Monusco) in Goma is taken by storm. The crowd seems organised. It is mostly discontent. For several days now, the anger against the Blue Helmets has been rising again.

With its budget exceeding one billion dollars each year and its 14,000 soldiers and policemen in charge of protecting civilians, Monusco is regularly accused of being ineffective against armed groups.

It had been preparing for several days for this new wave of demonstrations. Monusco even sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 18 July to warn against “the risk of hostile acts against Monusco personnel and installations” following speeches by “state representatives” or “public figures”.

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