SÃO PAULO, Brazil — The UN has appointed Brazilian General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz to lead a team of peacekeepers in a mission to the DR Congo.
The general, 60, who has been credited with bringing a Haiti slum under control, will come out of retirement to lead 20,000 troops, including a new combat force with the task of targeting rebels in the east of the country.
Santos Cruz told BBC's Newsday his troops would be trained to take into consideration civilians and private property in DR Congo.
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"The most critical area is nowadays the eastern part of the country," he told Newsday. "I am ready to face the most difficult of scenarios. The main objective is to relieve the suffering of the people."
The mission — the UN's first with an offensive mandate — will be carried out by soldiers from Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa, and should get off the ground in July.
The UN's current peacekeeping force in DR Congo, known as Monusco, has widely been called ineffective. Santos Cruz will now be in charge of a brigade of 2,500 that will be in charge of "neutralizing and disarming" armed groups who have been attacking eastern DR Congo for the past 20 years.
The country's most recent uprising, led by the M23, began in 2012 and forced 800,000 people to flee their homes. Neighboring countries Rwanda and Uganda have denied allegations that they support the M23.