Egypt plans to supply more than 1,325 troops to Eastern Congo to join the U.N peacekeeping force tasked with protecting civilians there, the Egyptian foreign said on Tuesday. The foreign ministry said the troopS will help strengthen the U.N peacekeeping operations in line with a security council decision in November to send 300 peacekeepers to Congo to help protect civilians and to help end conflict in the turbulent east.

The mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s biggest U.N peacekeeping operation and will be increased temporarily to just over 20,000 troops and police when the reinforcement are deployed.

Egypt said in a statement that its contribution to the force would comprise a military contingent of 1,325 troops including motorized infantry battalion, paratroopers, Special Forces and military engineers. Egypt could also send an interior military police unit whose mission would include protecting individuals and employees of the United Nations and its institutions, assisting the Congolese police and conducting joint patrols with them in the east.

Egypt currently has just 23 military observers and 13 police in the Congo, according to the UN. The UN Congo force has complained it is over-stretched and cannot protect the entire civilian in the east, which teems with arm groups despite national election in 2006 that returned President Joseph Kabila to office.



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