UN mission to close 5 military bases in DRC by July end
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced it will close five military bases by July 31 despite the presence of several militia in the eastern part of the country.
Eastern DRC has been torn apart for more than two decades by conflicts between armed forces and militiamen.
Established in 1999, the UN mission, also known as Monusco, is the world's largest UN peacekeeping mission.
The closure of the bases is part of the UN mission's strategy that consists of privileging the mobility and flexibility of military interventions, Monusco said in a statement late Wednesday.
''Monusco changes its mode of operations, as it continues to fulfill its mandate, that is, continuing to back Congolese authorities' efforts for civilians' protection,'' Monusco head Maman Sidikou said.
Communities were also urged to swiftly transmit all security-related information to the UN mission.
The UN Security Council resolution that extended the mandate of Monusco for another year in March, but decreased "the approved number of military personnel and military observers from 19,815 and 760, respectively, to 16,215 and 660", according to the statement.
In early 2017, the Congolese government said the peacekeeping mission was inefficient in the face of the security challenges in eastern DRC.
Clashes between armed groups are common in eastern DRC due to presence of numerous militia groups. There are also armed rebel groups from Uganda and Rwanda which at times attack civilians.