UN confirms removal of 2 000 peacekeepers from DRC by April

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The United Nations has this week confirmed that some 2 000 peacekeepers in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo would leave the country by April in the first phase of MONUSCO’s planned withdrawal from the country.

The UN Security Council approved the end of the mission in December after President Felix Tshisekedi called for a fast-tracked withdrawal during a speech in the General Assembly in September.

While the SANDF has over 1 100 soldiers deployed as part of the peacekeeping mission, it was not immediately clear which country contingents would be first to depart, while a new SADC force deployed in December to plug gaps left by the UN peacekeeping is set to include troops from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says, “We continue to work closely with Congolese authorities to accelerate the progressive and responsible disengagement of the peacekeeping mission from South Kivu while consolidating the peace gains. The SRSG informed that the first phase of the disengagement of MONUSCO has begun and will lead to the complete withdrawal of MONUSCO from South Kivu by June 2024, together with the simultaneous strengthening of state authorities in the province. During this phase, our peacekeeping colleagues’ bases in South Kivu will be handed over to the government in line with the usual standard of practice.”