to M23 rebels: Disarm in 48 hrs or face military force
Media KINSHASA—On Tuesday, the UN Organization
Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO)
published a statement saying the rebels around the eastern city of Goma
should either disarm or face "the use of force."
MONUSCO gave the M23 rebels around Goma until 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) on
Thursday "to hand in their weapon to a MONUSCO base," or the
peacekeeping mission would use its new mandate against them for the
The statement said after the deadline the rebels would
be "considered an imminent threat of physical violence to civilians and
MONUSCO will take all necessary measures to disarm them, including by
the use of force in accordance with its mandate and rules of
The mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, known as
MONUSCO, was recently renewed by the UN Security Council. The new
mandate allows the creation of a special unit, called the Force
Intervention Brigade, to carry out targeted offensive operations against
armed groups rather than merely protecting civilians.
The M23 rebels seized Goma on November 20, 2012 after UN
peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city of one million
people. M23 fighters withdrew from the city on December 1 under a
The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese Army in April 2012 in
protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic
Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the
Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
Since early May 2012, nearly 3 million people have fled their homes
in eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but
more than 460,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as
grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of
the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million