UN Forces uses for first time drone in Democratic Republic Congo for surveillance missions 0412131
- Posted On
Defence & Security News - Congo
|Wednesday, December 4, 2013 08:51 AM|
|UN Forces uses for the first time drone in Democratic Republic of Congo for surveillance missions.|
United Nations forces in Democratic Republic of Congo have launched unmanned aircraft to monitor the volatile border with Rwanda and Uganda, the first time UN peacekeepers have deployed surveillance drones. The surveillance UAVs will be used for the first time in Democratic Republic of Congo by the UN to gather intelligence.
The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is introducing the use of Unarmed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to enhance protection capabilities.
(Credit photo UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti)
The UAV will be used to monitor the volatile border between DR Congo and Rwanda and movements by militias and armed groups in the east of the country, which has been stricken by conflict for the past three decades.
The mission will start with two of the UAVs, built by Italian firm Selex ES, a subsidiary of the Italian giant Finmeccanica.
Up to five UAVs could be in operation after trials are completed. General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, MONUSCO Force Commander, said last month that by March or April of 2014 there would be a 24 hour UAV surveillance operation in the eastern DR Congo.
The vast mineral-rich region is at the heart of the conflict zone where millions have died over the past two decades.
In recent months UN troops have supported DR Congo forces who beat M23 rebels.
UN experts said the rebels were supplied and backed by neighboring Rwanda. The Kigali government denies the charges but has given only reluctant support to the use of the UAVs.
The DR Congo government and UN officials say that the next target in the region is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which is made up of ethnic Hutu rebels, some of whom are accused of taking part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide of ethnic Tutsis.
The Ivory Coast government has already said it would like the UN to use the surveillance UAVs to monitor its borders. The commanders of other peacekeeping missions, such as in South Sudan, have also said they would like to see the UAVs used there.