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UN maintains its 20,000 troops in the DRC

UN maintains its 20,000 troops in the DRC

Republic of the Congo

The United Nations on Wednesday decided against cutting back its peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo as fears grow of political turmoil in the country ahead of elections planned later this year.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a French-drafted resolution extending for one year the 20,000-strong MONUSCO mission, rejecting appeals from Kinshasa for the force to be halved.

The Council refused to downsize the mission due to important challenges which the international community believes should be tackled.

DRC is supposed to hold elections in November, but there are concerns that the polls may not take place with human rights activists and the opposition accusing President Kabila of planning to extend his rule after his mandate runs out at the end of the year.

After several disagreements with Kinshasa over the campaign against rebels in the East, the United Nations withdrew support for military operations in February 2015 but decided to restore ties earlier this month.

The UN has been pushing for the disarming of dozens of rebels and splinter groups after two decades of conflict in Eastern DR Congo.

Much of the fighting is fueled by the lucrative trade in minerals.