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09/21/2023 DRC (International Christian Concern) — Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), recently asked for an earlier removal of United Nations Peacekeeping troops in his country during the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders. The peacekeepers are slated to withdraw in December 2024.

More than 17,000 peacekeeping troops have been stationed in the DRC since July 1, 2010. Their U.N. mission is to protect “civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence and to support the government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts.”

The DRC has been devastated by instability and violent militant groups controlling vast swathes of the eastern region. While the peacekeeping goal included aiding the government in ridding these rebels from the country, many Congolese believe the presence of the peacekeepers has further encouraged a weak government and not allowed the people to address the situation on their own.

There have been violent protests and counter-protests surrounding the presence of the peacekeepers including a demonstration that “led to the death of 43 people and severely injured more than 50 in the eastern city of Goma” according to the Associated Press.

Christians face the negative effects of the violence, particularly at the hands of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ADF recently aligned itself with the Islamic State and has killed several hundred Christians this year.

It is difficult to say whether the retreat of U.N. peacekeepers will stabilize things. Another contributing factor is the lack of a presidential election that was supposed to occur in 2023. Even if the DRC were to have one this year, a peaceful transition of power is rare.

With concerns about safety, International Christian Concern (ICC) asks you to pray for stability in DRC and God’s loving and protecting hands to fall on our brothers and sisters, as well as those making the decisions on how to proceed with the rebels in the East.