UN Authorizes Offensive Force for Congo
Up to 3K peacekeeper troops to get 'intervention' authority to stop rebels
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2013 10:38 AM CDT
In this Dec. 1, 2012 file photo, M23 rebels withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

(Newser) – The UN Security Council has voted for the first time to authorize a peacekeeping force to carry out offensive operations, with up to 3,000 troops based in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, reports the AP. The resolution is good for one year, giving the "intervention brigade" the authority to act "in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner" to support the Congolese government and protect civilians from M23 and other rebel groups.

The UN resolution condemns M23 and other armed groups, demanding they end all violence and "permanently disband and lay down their arms." The resolution also condemns the rebels' continuing use of sexual violence and child soldiers. "I think ... what has been decided is a step toward peace enforcement," says France's UN ambassador.