New Vision ( Uganda ) reports
UN drones to monitor M23 rebel activities
KINSHASA - The first in a fleet of United Nations drones will begin monitoring rebel activity on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo next month, a UN commander said mid-this week.
I am not sure of the Obama administration's position on the drones per say but I am guessing they are not against it.
General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, commander with the UN peacekeeping brigade in the country, said the unarmed drone would be airborne by the last week of November.
For the life of me I can't think why this information was made public, we all knew that drones were going to be deployed but I see absolutely no reason to give M23 the time table for deployment.
"The initial base to operate the aerial vehicle will be in Goma, and for five months we are going to increase the equipment," he said.
Kagame is not going to like that, one almost gets the feeling that this is a response to the Rwandan military buildup along the DR Congo / Rwanda border, my concern would be that if the UN only have the one drone to deploy Goma might be a very vulnerable place to base it.
The brigade hopes to have surveillance 24 hours a day by "March or April", he added.
Hopefully the M23 problem will have been resolved by March next year, however there are no shortage of other criminal outfits such as the genocidal Rwandan FDLR and the Ugandan ADF, like M23 I will spill absolutely no tears should they come to a catastrophic end infact I will applaud the Intervention ( African ) Brigade and MONUSCO should they bring about such a result.
The United Nations said in August it had ordered its first surveillance drones from an Italian company to patrol the volatile eastern region, centred around the flashpoint city of Goma.
The drones' target will be the activities of the M23 movement, founded by former Tutsi rebels who were incorporated into the Congolese army under a 2009 peace deal.
"...former Tutsi rebels..." I am guessing they are still Tutsi but there is certainly a question mark over their rebel status, Rwandan insurgents I suspect would be more accurate. That said it is not helpful to view this as an ethnic fight. The consequences for ethnic Tutsis who are Congolese citizens is often death at the hands of fools who have either been manipulated into stupid racist positions or who are genuine racists. Either way the UN forces need to stamp out this shit and guarantee the security of all eastern DR Congo citizens.
Complaining the deal was never fully implemented, they mutinied in April 2012, turning their guns on their former comrades.
If the trial is successful in the DR Congo, where the drones will also monitor the borders with Rwanda and Uganda, they could also be used in South Sudan, Ivory Coast and in other UN missions.
The trial will be successful and it is not only inevitable drones will be used else where it is desirable.
The announcement came as the chief of the UN's peacekeeping force in the DR Congo, which has the unprecedented right to use deadly force against rebels groups in the country, said he had been made aware of a "disturbing" increase in manpower among the group.
"We have reports of the recruitment by force of young people in Rwanda," Martin Kobler said, potentially destined to join the rebels currently terrorising the Congolese population.
I suspect that both regular and reservist Rwandan troops have also been added to the M23 ranks. I think that there is a good argument for the UN forces to be given smart weapons to make use of the intelligence that will be gathered by the drones. Identifying and then being able to act against the M23 leadership and other threats in real time would be a huge advantage.
The UN accuses Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo, a charge the country has adamantly denied.
Neighbouring Rwanda was handed American sanctions last week for allegedly backing ethnic-Tutsi Congolese rebels who recruit child soldiers.
Kobler said he also had "irrefutable proof" that M23 rebels were acquiring more military equipment.
I have no doubt Rwanda is arming M23 and the political and military leadership of Rwanda need to be held accountable for the criminal acts they are perpetuating against not only the Congolese but other innocents whom Rwanda has put in harms way.