Their effectiveness has been questioned and United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been criticised for supporting an army accused of widespread rape and killings.

The country's president now wants the biggest UN peacekeeping force in the world out of his country.

The UN mission, known as MONUC, currently has around 20,000 troops deployed throughout Africa's third largest country.

MONUC was first deployed in the DRC in 2001 to monitor a ceasefire with neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, and to help Kinshasa re-establish state control.

Now Joseph Kabila, the president who came to power the same year, wants MONUC to leave by the end of June.

However, a UN-commissioned report last November concluded MONUC had done little to reduce the level of armed violence in the central African country. And as Mohammed Adow reports from Goma in Eastern Congo, UN officers think it will take years before they can leave.

Source: Al Jazeera