Fifteen Tanzanian peacekeepers with MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) were killed and a further 53 wounded when their base, COB Semuliki, was attacked and overrun by a large force of militants. MONUSCO has stated that it suspects the attackers belonged to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a deeply-entrenched Ugandan rebel group that has operated in the area for more than twenty years. The attack began just after 17:30 on Thursday evening and continued for over twelve hours during which the Tanzanians received no support, as the first MONUSCO reconnaissance flights left only at 07:00 the following morning and it appears no other units were tasked to assist despite the base getting out an alert to their main headquarters before communications were cut. [source]
In the coming days and weeks there’ll be an inevitable refocusing of the FIB’s approach as well as a likely investigation into what went wrong and how the disastrous event could have been avoided. It’s important that this takes into account the purpose and intention of the FIB as a ‘robust’ peacekeeping option and a recognition that it can no longer rely upon the relatively lax early warning, base defence, and force protection mechanisms relied upon by regular peacekeeping units.