The United Nations is seeking unmanned air vehicles for operations with peacekeeping forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite resistance from neighbouring nations.
Officials with the international organisation, which relies on member states to supply military forces, have made requests to at least two UAV-operating nations, France and the USA, to make systems available in support of its long-running stabilisation mission in the country, MONUSCO.
While no details about the UAVs requested have been announced officially, reports indicate that the UN is seeking aircraft capable of at least a 12h flight endurance, similar to the Belgian military's Israel Aerospace Industries RQ-5 Hunter systems that have been previously deployed there.
The request has met with resistance from neighbouring Rwanda, which denies accusations it has been supporting the rebel M23 group. The rebels, who have been accused of human rights violations, took over the city of Goma in late 2012, but returned it after negotiations with the Kinshasa government.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a notoriously unstable nation, long engulfed in warfare. The mineral-rich eastern part of the country is particularly restive, and a plethora of armed groups claim control of various regions, often backed by brutal force.