UN peacekeepers to acquire first drone in Congo

The United Nations has confirmed its peacekeepers will deploy an Italian-made drone in eastern Congo, a region that has been engulfed in conflict for close to two decades. The “Falco” will fly after the UN Security Council approved the trial use of unarmed drones in January 2013. Months later in March, the Security Council authorized the creation of an “intervention brigade” that is mandated to carry offensive operations against armed groups. The group is part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, which already has a capacity of close to 20,000 military and international police.

The mineral-reach East of The Democratic Republic of Congo has been inflamed with violence since the 1994 genocide in its Rwandan neighbor, when over a million and a half Hutus and Tutsis fled across the border (including many Hutu génocidaires). Rwanda subsequently invaded Congo to take action against Hutu militias that were launching cross-border attacks. This ethnic instability led to a general rebellion against the Zairian state. This period was known as The First Congo War of 1996-1997.

The Second Congo War, which officially took place between 1998 and 2003, is the deadliest war in Africa’s history, and the second deadliest in human history after the Second World War, with over 5 million killed by some counts. Although technically a separate war, its causes and underlying tensions once again resulted from the migration of Hutu génocidaires and other groups after the Rwandan genocide, forming restive ethnic enclaves in Congo’s eastern provinces. The war drew in many African nations that backed different proxy armies.

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