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  • Return to the Congo

    From the Irish Times, unable to get full story, no subscription at this time.

    o Irish troops may be sent to Congo
    Irish troops could be sent on a potentially dangerous mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an EU force to safeguard new elections this June.
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
    Radio transmission, siege of Jadotville DR Congo. September 1961.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

  • #2
    Just posted it in news....

    Irish troops could be sent on a potentially dangerous mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an EU force to safeguard new elections this June.

    Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern confirmed yesterday that the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has asked the Government to supply troops on the mission.
    Mr Ahern said in principle he would look favourably on the request if it satisfied the triple lock mechanism of UN, Government and Dáil approval to ensure Irish neutrality.

    A deployment in Congo would have historical resonance for the Defence Forces, which undertook their first peacekeeping operation in the then Belgian Congo between 1960-1964.
    Some 27 Irish soldiers died in the mission, including nine in an ambush in November 1960, the worst single incident in the Defence Forces' history.
    Mr Solana has requested assistance from several other countries for the mission amid an initial reticence among EU countries to supply troops because of the risks involved in the mission and existing troop commitments in states such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
    A spokeswoman for Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea said a decision would be made by the Government within the next four weeks on whether to take part.
    She said that due to existing commitments of 760 troops abroad in Liberia, Kosovo and Bosnia just 90 Irish troops would be available for deployment in any proposed peacekeeping force.
    Three years ago the French rebuffed an offer by the Government to send Irish Rangers to join the UN mission in Congo to help stabilise the state.
    But France and the UN are now actively seeking the involvement of more EU troops to boost the Congo mission.
    The UN initially made a request to the EU in December for a force of about 800 men to protect Congo's first free elections since independence from Belgium in 1961.
    The EU wanted to announce the composition of the mission by the end of February but concerns in Germany and France, which are both reluctant to lead the mission, have delayed a final decision on the make-up of the contingent.
    The Democratic Republic of Congo is recovering from the 1998-2002 war that cost four million lives and has left much of the country lawless. Despite the presence of 16,000 UN peacekeepers sporadic fighting continues ahead of the June elections.
    The request from the EU for Irish troops to serve in Congo comes as Mr O'Dea starts a three-day visit to Liberia, where 480 Irish troops are based as part of a 15,000 strong UNMIL deployment there.
    Mr O'Dea and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieut Gen Jim Sreenan were this morning due to leave for the Liberian capital Monrovia. They will visit the Irish troops based at Camp Clara in the city. Mr O'Dea will also meet tomorrow with the new Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The Irish party will visit a number of NGOs before returning to Ireland on Thursday.
    Sex - Breakfast of Champions!


    • #3
      Does anybody know if the ARW are being requested or the regulars?


      • #4
        A strength of only 800 troops for the whole force? A drop in the ocean for a country of that size.


        • #5
          with the 16000 already in country I would assume
          What are you cackling at, fatty? Too much pie, that's your problem.


          • #6
            Wed, Mar 01, 06

            UN in heavy fighting in Congo
            David Lewis in Kinshasa

            CONGO: Thousands of Congolese government soldiers and hundreds of UN peacekeepers battled ethnic militia fighters yesterday for control of an eastern town. Some government troops were killed, the UN said.

            UN peacekeepers backed up by helicopter gunships and mortar fire fought alongside the national army to retake control of Tchei, 60 kilometres southwest of Bunia in Ituri district, where militia violence has killed 60,000 people since 1999.

            "There is heavy fighting going on," said UN military spokesman Maj Hans-Jakob Reichen. "The armed groups are trying to break the strangle[ hold] that the joint forces have put around them.

            "Our operation will not stop until the rule of law is established in the Tchei area.

            "We have engaged with attack helicopters and mortars. Men in armoured personnel carriers and soldiers on the ground are also fighting," he said.

            Accused of doing little to stop fighting in the Congo despite peace deals that officially ended a five-year war in 2003, the UN has adopted a more robust approach, aiming to cut militia activity ahead of polls in June.

            "There are quite a few Congolese soldiers wounded, and a few have died," Maj Reichen said, adding that one UN soldier had also been hurt, although not by enemy fire.

            "There have been casualties amongst the militia," he said, without giving any figures. Five battalions totalling around 2,500 from the reformed national army and some 500 UN peacekeepers were involved, he said.

            © The Irish Times © Reuters

            WHAT FLIES DIES


            • #7
              Perhaps an update. Encountered at the UN Mission for DR Congo webpage. URL is

              From UN-backed military action halted after army troops protest conditions
              MONUC / DPI
              03 mar. 06 - 22.21h

              One of two operations in which hundreds of helicopter-backed United Nations peacekeepers were helping the army of the DR Congo dislodge militia has been called off so that the Congolese soldiers involved can receive better training and preparation.

              The decision to suspend the operation, in which 300 UN ‘Blue Helmets’ were helping the army dislodge militia said to have been looting and enslaving locals in the eastern Ituri region of the vast country, was taken after an incident yesterday when some newly integrated elements of the national army protested over their conditions of service.

              Both the peacekeepers from the UN’s Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Moroccan contingents and the Congolese army soldiers, who include reintegrated former rebels, have now returned to Ituri’s main town, Bunia. They had been operated in the Tchei area, some 60 kilometres to the south-east.

              Another 300 ‘blue helmets,’ also backed by combat helicopters, have been helping the army further south to drive out rebels from neighbouring Rwanda, where they have been operating for the past 10 years in the heavily forested area north of Bukavu, the main city of the South Kivu region.

              The operations were the latest in recent months in which MONUC has played a more active role in seeking to bring stability to the eastern DRC as the vast country prepares to hold elections in June to cement its transition from a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives through fighting and the attendant humanitarian catastrophe – the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II.

              Other updates available at the site.