Brazil’s Santos Cruz to head UN’s DR Congo mission

The UN has appointed a Brazilian general credited with bringing a Haiti slum under control to lead peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gen Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz will lead 20,000 troops, including a new combat force charged with targeting rebels in the east of the country.

This is the first time the UN has given an offensive mandate to its troops.

Gen Santos Cruz told the BBC his troops would be trained to consider civilians and private property in DR Congo.

“The most critical area is nowadays the eastern part of the country,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.

“I am ready to face the most difficult of scenarios. The main objective is to relieve the suffering of the people.”

Gen Santos Cruz will be in charge of a new 2,500-strong brigade tasked with “neutralising and disarming” armed groups in the east of DR Congo.

The UN’s existing peacekeeping force has been widely criticised as ineffective in ending the two-decade long war.

Troops from Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa are likely to form the bulk of the new brigade, which is expected to be deployed by July.

Gen Santos Cruz is a retired former force commander of the Haiti mission, and is credited with dismantling criminal gangs in Haiti in 2007.

UN peacekeeping forces battled for more than a year to regain control of the large Cite Soleil slum in Port au Prince from the gangs.

Source: BBC

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