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UN in Congo rejects aid group’s criticism

July 11, 2013

GOMA, Congo (AP) — The United Nations mission in Congo has rejected criticism from the international aid group Doctors Without Borders that its mandate of aiding the population and fighting armed groups is contradictory.

An open letter published earlier this month by the charity, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, expressed concern about the mission’s mandate to “aid, protect and fight” in Congo. The U.N. in March proposed a new “intervention brigade” to help bring peace to conflict-ridden eastern Congo.

U.N. mission spokesman Manodge Mounoubai defended the mandate Wednesday, saying the mission could not “fold our arms and allow armed groups to kill the population.”

The open letter criticizes the U.N.’s policy of providing armed escorts for U.N. aid workers, saying this could lead to aid workers being identified with the intervention brigade.

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