Monday, May 23, 2005

U.N. Forces Using Tougher Tactics to Secure Peace - New York Times

U.N. Forces Using Tougher Tactics to Secure Peace - New York Times

Pretty funny stuff! The NY Times is all in favor of aggressive UN peacekeeping, and condemns the rebels' barbaric behavior, in mirror image to their treatment of US involvement in Iraq! Won't these aggressive tactics just make them hate the UN even more, and bring more violence? ha! (hat tip lgf)

"As they root out the insurgents who prey on Ituri’s population, United Nations soldiers in the east have at their disposal tanks, armored personnel carriers, Mi-25 attack helicopters, mortars and rocket-propelled grenade launchers - all of which are getting heavy use.

“It may look like war but it’s peacekeeping,” said Lt. Gen. Babacar Gaye of Senegal, the force commander in Congo, of the largest and most robust of the 18 United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world.

At a militia camp in Kagaba recently, the peacekeepers backed up besieged Congolese troops and engaged in a running battle with ethnic Lendu fighters.

In March, after an ambush that killed nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers, the United Nations forces raided a crowded market near Loga to root out fighters preying on the local population. The peacekeepers also conduct what they call “cordon and search” operations, which are essentially hunts for weaponry in remote villages.

Their opponents are tribal fighters who ignored the United Nations deadline of April 1 for disarming. A last opportunity to comply is approaching; after that, the peacekeepers say they will get even tougher. As the United Nations has become more aggressive, many tribal warriors have disarmed. Of the 15,000 fighters that the United Nations estimates once operated in Ituri, nearly 14,000 have turned in their weapons. The holdouts are fierce, and show no signs of surrendering.

In February, militia fighters ambushed a group of Bangladeshi soldiers on a foot patrol around a camp of displaced people. Nine peacekeepers were killed, then mutilated."

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