The Congolese government has said a regional peacekeeping mission will have to leave the country by Dec. 8 due to poor performance. The force was deployed by the East African Community (EAC) bloc last year amid an insurgency by the M23 rebel group, which is backed by Rwanda.
Kinshasa wanted the force to militarily engage the M23, but that proved tricky given that Rwanda is an EAC member state. Fighting between the M23 and pro-government militias has intensified since the beginning of this month, rupturing a shaky ceasefire. More than 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes by the renewed fighting, with many seeking protection at a UN peacekeeping base.
The UN force has been present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for over two decades but has lost local legitimacy as conflict has become entrenched. Kinshasa has asked the UN mission—which is also facing new allegations of sexual exploitation and violence—to likewise speed up its withdrawal process.