The head of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) today welcomed the first batch of 130 Senegalese troops in Kananga, in the central province of Kasai Occidental.
In a statement issued in Kinshasa, MONUC said the second half of the Senegalese contingent was expected to arrive on Friday, bringing the total to 260. Today's dispatch is the second of the Mission's Guard Units in the country and the first deployment of blue helmets in a government-held area.
Like all UN Guard Units in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the mission of the Senegalese soldiers will be "to guard UN facilities, equipment and supplies," MONUC said. The guards will enhance the ability of the Mission's military observers to carry out their primary task of monitoring and verifying the disengagement of the parties to the conflict.
Some 200 Uruguayan soldiers have already been deployed to Kalemie, one of MONUC's four Sector Headquarters. The plan also foresees the deployment next month of a second Senegalese Guard Unit of some 280 troops to Mbandaka and the arrival in May of a contingent of 200 Tunisian troops in Kinshasa to guard the Mission's main Headquarters.