The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will receive its first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) next month, in a historic move that will see the aircraft being used to monitor rebel activity.
The UN DRC mission (Monusco) brigade commander, General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, said the first UAVs would be flying by the last week of next month, with 24 hour surveillance available by March or April.
“The initial base to operate the aerial vehicle will be in Goma, and for five months we are going to increase the equipment,” he was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying.
It will be the first time the United Nations has used such equipment and, if the trial surveillance use by peacekeepers in eastern Congo is successful, officials and diplomats also hope the drones could be used by missions in Ivory Coast and South Sudan, Reuters reports. The United Nations has set aside money to deploy surveillance drones eventually in Ivory Coast to monitor its border with Liberia following a recommendation by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a request from the West African country.