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UN Security Council authorizes Congo intervention force

Congo's rebel-battling "intervention brigade" wins unanimous approval from the United Nations.

Un peace agreement addis ababaEnlarge
Democratic Republic of Congo's president Joseph Kabila (R) signs a peace agreeement during a summit in Addis Ababa on Feb. 24, 2013. (Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images)

United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in Congo will be a force to reckon with given Thursday's UN authorization of a new "intervention brigade" allowed to use military force against a rebel uprising in the country's east, reported the Associated Press

The UN Security Council unanimously approved the resolution, which gives peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo unprecedented military power to wage "targeted offensive operations," according to Agence-France Press

The M23 rebels last year moved into Congo's mineral-rich east, with Reuters reporting clashes between rebels and government forces near the main city of Goma just last month. 

AP said the UN decision marks a new approach to peacekeeping, describing the force as "unprecedented in UN peacekeeping because of its offensive mandate."

Diplomats told AFP that it ushers in a new era for UN efforts in this regard, but AP quoted the resolution as saying it is only valid for one year "on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent."

The force is part of an ongoing UN effort to end violence in Congo's east, which borders Rwanda and Uganda.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130328/un-security-council-authorizes-congo-intervention-force