UN Congo Mission to Lose Indian Helicopters

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

India is getting set to withdraw its Mi-35 attack helicopters from the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The expected departure of the four aircraft early next month has sparked fears the U.N. mission will be less well 1equipped to safeguard civilians, especially in remote and volatile areas of eastern Congo.

Indian officials say they need the helicopters for other purposes. The country's deputy ambassador to the U.N., Manjeev Puri, is urging the U.N. to seek attack helicopters from other countries.

India is a major contributor of troops and equipment to the mission in Congo, the largest U.N. peacekeeping operation in the world. The mission has been criticized for failing to fully protect villages from the many militia and rebel groups active in eastern Congo.

France is reported to be preparing a U.N. resolution that calls for the peacekeepers to play a greater role in protecting civilians as Congo prepares for national elections in November.