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DRC Locals Say UN Peacekeepers have Outstayed their Welcome

Since July 25, anti-UN protests have raged on in the DRC’s eastern region, with 36 people — including four peacekeepers — dead and 170 wounded as of Wednesday, the DRC government told CNN. Protesters are demanding the withdrawal of UN forces from the central African country for failing to rein in rebel groups in the east who mastermind lethal attacks against civilians. In 2010, MONUSCO replaced an earlier UN operation called MONUC, which was established to help bring peace and stability to the DRC. What began as a “small observer mission,” in 1999 with a small deployment of 90 soldiers, transformed into the “UN’s largest and most robust operation,” and by 2000, the UN Security Council had authorized more than 5000 military personnel for the MONUC force to the DRC. As of November, last year, MONUSCO had over 12,000 troops and more than 1,600 police officers deployed in the DRC. Analysts say the DRC public has become disenchanted with the UN peacekeeping force for failing to secure the country. The DRC has grappled with decades-long militia violence as state forces struggle to rein in rebel groups. Fighting between government troops and the M23 rebel group, which seeks control of the country from its stronghold in eastern DRC, has left many dead and displaced thousands.