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DR Congo: MONUSCO begins withdrawal, hands over first U.N. base to national police

Monusco (ex-Monuc),   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo known as MONUSCO began its withdrawal Wednesday with the official handover to the Congolese authorities of the first of its bases in South Kivu, in the east of the country.

The Monusco withdrawal called for by Kinshasa last year, comes after 25 years of presence. It was formalized in December by the United Nations Security Council, despite its concerns over the escalation of violence in eastern Congo. Congolese authorities had deemed the force's operations as ineffective,

Monusco which currently numbers some 15,000 peacekeepers, is still present in the region's three most troubled provinces, South and North Kivu, as well as Ituri. The UN and Kinshasa adopted a three-phase "disengagement plan" has been adopted.say they want to be "orderly, responsible and sustainable".

Intense fighting resumed last month around the city of Goma, North Kivu's capital. The latest clashes have pushed tens of thousands of civilians to flee, with around six million people in total having been displaced by the fighting.

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