Congo: More Peacekeepers, Fewer Rebels

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
June 29, 2006: UN and Japanese trainers have helped raise two companies of special Congolese police. The companies comprise the Mobile Intervention Group (Congo use the French acronym GMI). The GMI are part of the National Congolese Police. The GMI will be used as a mobile security unit during the upcoming elections. The UN has trained 14,000 new Congolese police officers. 32,000 new police officers have been trained by other nations and international agencies.
June 28, 2006: Turkey is sending 17 troops to serve with the European election protection forces in Congo. Turkey will also contribute one C-130 transport aircraft. Transport aircraft and helicopters are critical equipment. The Congo is a huge country. The UN and the Congolese government have decided to deploy as many Congolese police as possible to provide security to voters, then back up the police with international peacekeepers and elite Congolese police deploying as "rapid reaction forces" should trouble occur. C-130s and other tactical transports will deliver the RRFs to the hotspots.
June 27, 2006: A militia group in eastern Congo released two Nepalese peacekeepers. The two men were taken captive May 28 in Ituri. Five other Nepalese peacekeepers remain missing.
June 26, 2006: Lead elements of the European Unions Force for the DRC (EUFOR DRCongo) have been arriving in the Congo. EUFOR DRCongo will deploy 2000 troops in Congo to the protect the national elections (scheduled for July 30). Some 800 European peacekeepers will deploy in Kinshasha. The EU force has a mandate to remain in Congo up to four months after the election. South Africa will send 300 election monitors and technicians to support the election.
June 21, 2006: The first contingent of EUFOR DRCongo, 179 French troops, arrived in the Congo.
MONUC reported the situation in South Kivu remained calm, though the FDLR militia. remained a threat. The UN's South Kivu Brigade has established four Mobile Operating Bases in South Kivu. One base is located at Bunyakiri.
Militias in Ituri district (northeast Congo) have until June 30 to complete disarmament. The UN has two disarmament sites in Ituri, one at Aveba (south of the capital of Bunia), and one at Kpandroma. Militiamen who turn in their arms prior to June 30 will receive amnesty from the Congolese government. Those who fail to do so will be forcibly disarmed by the UN and Congolese forces. The UN is trying to convince as many militiamen as possible to turn in their arms peaceably, However, look for a new counter-militia offensive in Ituri beginning in early July as part of the UN's election security operations. The UN estimates 4000 armed militiamen remain in Ituri. This is down from the 16,000 armed militiamen believed to be operating in Ituri at the beginning of 2006. Most of the 4000 still under arms are part of the Congolese Revolutionary Movement (MRC).

 

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