The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has helped in the fight against rebels for more than two decades, will completely withdraw from the country by December.
“After 25 years of presence, MONUSCO will definitively leave the DRC no later than the end of 2024,” Bintou Keita, head of the mission known as MONUSCO said at a media briefing in the Congolese capital Kinshasa on Saturday.
In the first phase, about 2,000 UN troops will leave South Kivu by the end of April, taking the currently 13,500-strong MONUSCO force to 11,500, Keita said.
Fourteen UN bases in the province will be taken over by Congolese security forces, she explained.
After that, forces in North Kivu and Ituri will also leave.
MONUSCO took over from an earlier UN operation in 2010 to help quell insecurity in the east of the Central African country, where armed groups fight over territory and resources. But in recent years, its presence has become increasingly unpopular.
In December, the UN’s Security Council voted unanimously in favour of gradually phasing out its peacekeeping operations.
Keita said on Saturday that the end of the mission will not be “the end of the United Nations” in the country.