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FACTBOX-The U.N. mission in DR Congo

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 24 Sep 2010 13:17 GMT
Author: reuters
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Sept 24 (Reuters) - Rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) responsible for hundreds of violent rapes are not being brought to justice, U.N. officials said on Friday.

A report by the U.N. human rights office in Congo pointed to serious shortcomings by the Congolese army and police.

But they said their failure was compounded by further failings of the MONUSCO U.N. peacekeepers in Congo, who had not received specific training in protecting civilians.

Here are some facts about the MONUSCO mission, the largest of its kind in the world.

MONUC/MONUSCO ROLE:

* The U.N. mission landed in the middle of a 1998-2003 war -- Rwanda and Ugandan forces, with Burundian support, had invaded to back rebel groups. Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola sent troops to support the Congolese government.

* The conflict killed around 5.4 million people, largely through hunger and disease. Localised violence continued in the run-up to the 2006 election.

* Following the signing of the ultimately ineffective Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999 between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the five regional states, the U.N. Security Council established the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).

* The mission was initially to plan for the observation of the ceasefire and disengagement of forces and maintain liaison with all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement.

* Despite support from MONUC, the government has struggled against local and foreign rebel groups.

* From July 1, 2010, MONUC was renamed MONUSCO to focus on civilian protection.

NUMBERS:

* The current strength of the MONUSCO force is 19,685 uniformed personnel -- this includes 17,745 troops, 716 military observers and 1,224 police -- as well as 982 international civilian personnel, 2,790 local civilian staff and 589 United Nations volunteers.

* Under MONUC the U.N. lost 99 troops with a further 10 military observers and six police killed. Thirty local civilian and 12 international civilian members of MONUC have also died, bringing the official death toll to 157.

* Three Indian U.N. peacekeepers were killed in an attack on their base in Kirumba in North Kivu province on Aug. 18. One other civilian with MONUSCO has also been killed.

WITHDRAWAL:

* The government had previously asked for a total withdrawal of MONUC in 2011, but said in May it was satisfied with initial plans for 2,000 troops to leave before the 50th anniversary of independence from Belgian colonial rule in June 2010.

* Peacekeepers did begin leaving Congo on June 16 as part of a small but symbolic troop reduction before June 30. More than 100 Senegalese troops were the first to leave.

-- The United Nations has withdrawn 1,700 peacekeepers recently in response to calls from Congo to end the mission. * For now the force is backing Congo forces against other insurgencies in the country, including Rwandan Hutu rebels in the Kivu provinces of the remote east of the country and an ethnically charged uprising in the northern province of Equateur that has pushed over 100,000 refugees into the neighbouring Congo Republic.

LATEST ATROCITY:

* The United Nations said this month MONUSCO found at least 242 people had been raped over the course of several days in late July and early August in the town of Luvungi, near a U.N. camp at Kibua in North Kivu. The new U.N. report has revised upwards the number of rape victims to at least 303. * The attack has stung the United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made protecting civilians and combating sexual violence, especially in Congo, central themes of his stewardship of the world body.

* U.N. peacekeepers said they were only informed of the incident more than a week after it happened, even though they had a base just 20 miles (30 km) from the scene in the country's violent east.

Source: http://monuc.unmissions.org/

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