UN stabilization mission to withdraw from DRC by end of 2024 News
© WikiMedia (MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani)
UN stabilization mission to withdraw from DRC by end of 2024

The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reaffirmed their mutual desire for a progressive, responsible, honorable and exemplary withdrawal of the MONUSCO from the DRC on Saturday.

Bintou Keita, head of MONUSCO, announced at a press conference held on Saturday in Kinshasa the disengagement of MONUSCO from the DRC in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2717 (2023). The disengagement plan includes “three distinct and successive phases and the gradual handover of responsibility” to the Congolese government. Phase 1 of disengagement starts with the complete withdrawal of MONUSCO military and police personnel from South Kivu, which began in December 2023 and is projected to be done by the end of April 2024. Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the disengagement involve the withdrawal of personnel from North Kivu and Ituri, respectively. Keita stated that MONUSCO and the Congolese government “will ensure that the transfer of tasks and responsibilities in terms of security and protection of civilians will be effective before any withdrawal.”

MONUSCO took over in 2010 the functions of the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), which was established in 1999 by UN Security Council Resolution 1279 (1999) to observe and monitor a ceasefire in the DRC. With the UN peacekeeping operation, MONUSCO and its predecessor have helped with the fights against rebels, the protection of civilians, and the restoration of peace in the DRC for over two decades. The withdrawal follows an earlier request by the government of the DRC, which was just elected in a controversial vote in January 2024. However, the DRC’s Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula has told reporters that “the withdrawal of MONUSCO does not necessarily mean the end of the fight we are undertaking to protect the territorial interests of our country, we must continue to struggle.”

The DRC is still undergoing an escalation of fighting between rebels, such as the March 23 Movement (M23) and the DRC’s armed forces. As of June 2023, the conflicts in the eastern area of the DRC internally displaced more than 6.1 million people.