The DRC conflict is the most intractible in the whole Greater Horn region.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (known a MONUC) is planning on an exit plan as its term comes toan end in May, 2010. Being the largest UN mission in the world with 20,500 personnel, we need to look at it successes and/or failures in the past 10 years it’s been in operation.

A Kenyan UN Peacekeeper in DRC

Successes? These are very few: MONUC has helped in shoring up the Kinshasa govt’s effort to rebuild especially in the Orientale (Eastern) provinces which are controlled by rebels and foreign armies (Uganda, Rwanda and at times South Sudan). Former rebels in DRC were also brought to international courts; people like Pierre Bemba and co were hauled before Hague judges.

Failures?
Where to start! MONUC has totally failed to stabilize the Eastern provinces. Civilians continue to die at the hands of war lords like Laurent Nkunda and Gen Ntaganda, Gen Murwanashyaka et al.
There have been numerous allegations against UN forces of engagement in gold smuggling, breaking UN arms embargos, rape and generally doing nothing to protect civilians. (A Congolese friend of mine told me in early 2009 how their village was overrun by Nkunda’s men and MONUC did nothing to protect them. And so the villagers held huge anti-UN rallies and went to the extent of attacking the blue helmets!)
Very weak mandate: The ‘Peace Enforcement’ aspect was missing from the original UNSC resolution that formed MONUC. Hence they could just sit back and wastch as rebels (and govt forces) raped and murdered innocent civilians.

I believe MONUC should be allowed to stay on despite their glaring failure.They should at least stay a bit longer in the Kivu provinces. But their mandate needs to be looked at afresh when the UNSC meets before May.

Laurent Nkunda

Deaths in the DRC Conflict: Are these figures real??
They (aid agencies, UN, EU, US Sec of State Clinton, etc) put the figure of deaths in the Congo conflict from 1998 to 2003 as a whooping 5.4 million people! You will hear these figure everywhere; their origin? A ‘major study’ by the International Rescue Committee (see it here: http://www.theirc.org/special-reports/special-report-congo-y ). Do the math with me: It means every year in the last 10 years, 540,000 peaple died. This translates to 1,479 people per day!

Of course we know that not all 5.4 million died from direct violence of the conflict; there is malnutrition, disease and starvation. But still, methinks even providing for these, 1,479 per day is way too high. And the Human Security Report of 2009 arrives at exactly the same conclusion: These figures could very well be less than a million. HSR point to a statistical error by the IRC… (http://www.humansecurityreport.info/)