KINSHASA, Congo – Congo's president says the United Nations should start withdrawing from the enormous country where a peacekeeping mission has been based for 15 years.
During a lengthy speech before parliament, President Joseph Kabila asserted Monday that peace has progressively returned to the country racked by back-to-back civil wars.
Kabila said the threat still posed by rebel groups in eastern Congo "does not justify keeping a contingent of 20,000 men on our soil."
Critics, though, question whether the Congolese military can adequately protect civilians especially in the conflict-torn east.
A local civic organization reports that more than 250 people have been killed in attacks around the town of Beni in the past two months.