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Kobler will serve as Ban’s Special Representative to the country and succeed Roger Meece of the United States, who will complete his assignment in July.
Since 2011, Kobler has been the top UN official in Iraq with the UN Assistance Mission there (UNAMI). He was previously the Deputy Special Representative with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Prior to joining the UN, Kobler served for more than 25 years in his country’s foreign service.
With more than 17,000 military personnel, MONUSCO has a mandate to protect civilians, defend human rights under imminent threat of physical violence and support operations by the Congolese army.
Kobler’s appointment comes at a time when tension appears to be rising between government and rebel forces. On May 20, fighting between army soldiers and rebels from the armed group M23 Movement broke out in North-Kivu provincial capital of Goma in eastern DR Congo.
The M23 movement have threatened to attack the towns of Goma, Beni and Butembo in North-Kivu province in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) since late April.
The rebel forces have claimed they are even ready to attack the UN intervention force if their bases are under fire.
The rebel group, emerging in April 2012, seized control of Goma in December last year, but withdrew from the town 10 days later under the pressure of Great Lakes countries who were negotiating for a peaceful solution.