UN mission to DRC begins withdrawal by transferring control of first base of operations News
MONUSCO Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
UN mission to DRC begins withdrawal by transferring control of first base of operations

The UN transferred control of its first base of operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday to the Congolese government. The move is a part of the UN’s plan to end its current humanitarian operations within the DRC by the end of the year. The UN made the decision to withdraw operations from the country in December 2023, despite ongoing reports of instability within the country.

The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) announced on Wednesday that it had transferred control of the base in Kamanyola to the Congolese government. The base will now be operated by the National Police of the DRC. The mission said in a statement that the move signaled one of the first acts of disengagement from the country.

The UN has been present within the DRC since 1999 with the formation of MONUC to oversee the nation following the civil war. The current peacekeeping operation, MONUSCO, took over from MONUC in 2010 and has been in place ever since. During this period, there have been patches of stability and near-constant pressure from opposition movements, guerilla forces and others.

The effort put into peacekeeping within the Congo has been one of the largest missions the UN has ever undertaken. Since 2010, over 30,000 staff have been deployed to the region as either peacekeepers or aid workers. With the UN peacekeeping operation, MONUSCO and its predecessor have helped with the fights against rebelsthe 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. 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.