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First intervention brigade troops arrive in DR Congo


The first troops belonging to an intervention brigade aimed at taking on armed groups in strife-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have arrived for their mission, a United Nations official said Monday.

About a hundred soldiers arrived in the provincial capital of Goma at the weekend, Alex Essome of the UN force in DR Congo said. They are part of a 1,280 man force from Tanzania that is set to be deployed in the area "in the coming days".

The UN Security Council created the intervention brigade of more than 3,000 troops after an offensive by rebel group M23 last November which saw Goma briefly fall into rebel hands.

Aside from Tanzania, the special force will also be made up of troops from South Africa and Malawi.

The UN already has 17,000 troops in DR Congo, officially known as MONUSCO, and is one of the biggest UN missions in the world with more than 17,750 troops and military observers and 1,400 police.

While MONUSCO has a mandate to protect civilians, the intervention brigade is the first to be given an offensive mandate.