UN Peacekeepers Exit Kamanyola Base as DR Congo Police Assume Control

Special intervention brigade forces from Tanzania, part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - MONUSCO, on duty in Sake, North Kivu (July 2013).

U.N. Peacekeepers Exit Kamanyola Base as DR Congo Police Assume Control

On February 28, Pakistani MONUSCO peacekeepers officially closed their Kamanyola base in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), marking a significant step in the joint withdrawal plan between the DRC government and MONUSCO. Bintou Keita, the Head of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in the DRC, attended the ceremony, emphasizing that Kamanyola is the first MONUSCO base in South Kivu to shut down under the agreed-upon withdrawal plan signed on November 21, 2023.

Established in 2005, the Kamanyola base played a crucial role in the volatile Ruzizi plain region. With the closure, responsibility for security in the area transitions to the Congolese National Police. The move aligns with the broader initiative for the accelerated, gradual, orderly, and responsible withdrawal of MONUSCO from the DRC.

Senegalese General Diouf Khar, the interim Commander-in-Chief of MONUSCO forces, expressed confidence in the professionalism of the Congolese defense and security forces taking over. Despite acknowledging existing challenges, General Khar believes in their ability to address them with determination.

MONUSCO, which arrived in the DRC in 2010, succeeded an earlier U.N. peacekeeping mission with the mandate to protect civilians and humanitarian personnel and support the Congolese government in stabilization and peace consolidation efforts. However, frustrations among Congolese citizens have grown over the years, with some feeling unprotected against rebel attacks. This discontent has led to protests against the U.N. mission, occasionally turning deadly.

Eastern DR Congo has been marred by the activities of more than 120 armed groups vying for control of the region’s resources, including gold. These groups, often accused of receiving support from neighboring countries and foreign powers, continue to pose a significant challenge to regional stability. As MONUSCO takes steps towards withdrawal, concerns persist about the capacity of local security forces to manage and mitigate the ongoing threats in the region effectively.

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