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U.N. forces use drones for first time, in eastern Congo

Source: Reuters - Wed, 4 Dec 2013 00:58 AM
Author: Reuters
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UN forces deploy surveillance drones for the first time ever as part of peacekeeping efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The aircraft will be used to look for threats in the east from a host of local and foreign armed groups along the border with Rwanda and Uganda.

Alexandre Luba Ntambo welcomes the drones

(SOUNDBITE) (French) DRC MINISTER OF DEFENSE, ALEXANDRE LUBA NTAMBO, SAYING:

"There are armed groups that don't have uniforms and are active within the population. I think that these drones will make an important contribution on this matter."

U.N. peacekeepers have been widely criticized for doing too little to end fighting in eastern Congo -- a densely forested area that Kinshasa has struggled to control during two decades of virtually constant conflict. The deployment comes after M23 rebels were defeated.

While a final political deal with M23 is still being ironed out, Congolese and U.N. forces are now expected to turn their attention to the Rwandan and Ugandan rebel groups, both of which are based in Congo's east.

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