Uncertainty in DR Congo as UN mission halts peacekeeper pullout

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is hitting pause on its planned withdrawal.

This decision comes after the completion of the initial phase in South Kivu province and amid renewed fighting in the eastern part of the country.

The mission, known as MONUSCO, was deployed to quell violence caused by armed groups vying for control of resources.

In September 2023, President Tshisekedi requested a faster drawdown of peacekeepers.

However, ongoing clashes in North Kivu have halted further withdrawals.

DRC officials blame neighboring Rwanda for escalating tensions, accusing them of backing the M23 rebel group.

Rwanda has consistently denied these accusations.

Bintou Keita, head of MONUSCO, emphasized there is currently “no timeline” for withdrawing from North Kivu or Ituri provinces.

Both the U.N. and the Congolese government prioritize avoiding a security vacuum as they reassess the situation.

“We pause, we prepare, and we see what comes next based on the reality on the ground,” Keita told reporters.

Foreign Minister Therese Wamba Wagner echoed this sentiment, stating the government will “take into account developments” before resuming the withdrawal process.

The news raises questions about the future of stability in the eastern DRC.

With the peacekeeping mission on hold, the government and the U.N. face the challenge of addressing ongoing conflicts and ensuring the safety of civilians.

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