UN drops joint military campaign with DRC troops

By Incorrect Author 18 December 2009

The UN says its joint military campaign with soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo has achieved the goal of weakening Rwandan Hutu rebels who roam the east of the mineral-rich nation. The rebels are a hangover from Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, and have caused enough trouble for the UN to build up a presence of 18,000 troops in the area. The world body now says the joint campaign will be halted by the end of December. It’s a pretty timely exit for the UN, after it was accused by human rights groups of allowing its DRC allies to kill and rape civilians. Critics say the campaign has failed to dismantle militia organisations, although the UN said this wasn’t its objective. One rights group, Human Rights Watch, says Congolese troops and rebel forces killed 1,400 civilians this year during the offensive. UN peacekeepers have themselves sexually exploited women and girls, some as young as 13, according to the UN’s own watchdog. Read more: BBC, BBC, NPR, AP

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