By Henry Mukasa
THE United Nations is considering revising the mandate of its peacekeeping forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan so that they can join the hunt for LRA leader Joseph Kony.
â€œThe concern of what is happening in the DRC is high in the United Nations,â€ said Susana Malcorra, the Under-Secretary General for field support on UN peacekeeping operations, in Kampala yesterday.
â€œTo engage in further actions against the LRA, MONUC would need a new mandate. Clearly the mandate for us to go after the LRA is not within the current Security Council mandate. We hope the Security Council will (grant it).â€
She explained that the mandate of UNMIS was to oversee the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan, while MONUC was in the DRC to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
Malcorra said the marauding LRA rebels have had a huge negative impact on the peace and reconstruction process in Southern Sudan.
â€œThe fact the LRA has a huge impact in Southern Sudan may require us to reshuffle some of our priorities. The Security Council will have to review the mandate as we move forward,â€ she stated.
According to the UN website, however, the UN resolutions for both UNMIS and MONUC include as part of their mandate to â€œprotect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.â€
Malcorra was speaking to the media after a meeting with a Government delegation led by foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa at the ministryâ€™s headquarters.
Over the weekend, Sudanese authorities reported that renewed attacks by LRA in Western Equatoria had displaced 5,000 civilians. The UN said the attacks, which included killings, abductions and destruction, hampered humanitarian efforts.
â€œAll UN humanitarian work in the border region between Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo was suspended as a result of the attacks and aid workers were evacuated,â€ said Marie Okabe, the deputy spokesperson of the UN Secretary General.
On Somalia, Malcorra noted that she had come to assess the needs of the AU peacekeeping mission. She said the UN had a responsibility to support the mission as it draws its mandate from the African Union.
Kutesa disclosed that the Government had discussions under IGAD to change the mandate of the AU force in Somalia from â€œpeacekeepingâ€ to â€œpeace enforcementâ€ amidst attacks by Islamist militants seeking to topple the transitional government.