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The Journal Gazette

  • Airport personnel stand around a new drone forming part of the United Nation peacekeeping force in Goma, Congo, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. A new fleet of drones will make their maiden voyage this week in Congo's troubled east, where one rebel group was recently disarmed, but many more continue to occupy the area's thick jungles. United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the five drones will be "an essential tool" in the peacekeeping mission's military plan. (AP Photo/Alain Wandimoyi)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013 9:56 am

United Nations launches drones over Congo

The Associated Press

At a ceremony held at a pockmarked airport in Congo's troubled east, the United Nations launched the first of five drones which will be used to gather intelligence about the myriad armed groups still lurking in the nation's vast jungles.

United Nations peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous presided over the ceremony alongside Congo's minister of defense, calling the drones "an essential instrument ... both to observe armed groups and also to keep watch over civilians who are displaced or on the run due to the conflict."

Congolese Minister of Defense Luba Tambo added that the drones will play a critical role in helping patrol the nation's porous border with neighboring Rwanda, which is accused of funneling arms and battalions of foot soldiers to the rebels in Congo.