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UN Security Council Approves Force to Engage Rebels in Congo

The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved creation of an “intervention brigade” that can hunt down and open fire on armed rebels in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 15-member body voted today for a change from traditional UN peacekeeping forces, which can’t retaliate unless attacked. Despite the presence of a 20,000-person UN force, armed groups have thrived in the country’s remote eastern hills for more than a decade. M23 rebels captured the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, in November before withdrawing in December.

African troops will make up the special unit, which will flank and support the peacekeepers. The resolution makes clear that the Goma-based intervention brigade -- consisting of three infantry battalions, one artillery unit and a special forces and reconnaissance company -- was formed on an exceptional basis and will have a “clear exit strategy.”

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