Envoys said U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the Security Council during a closed-door session that the U.N mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo plans to deploy three unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, in the country's conflict-torn eastern provinces.
The United Nations has wanted surveillance drones for eastern Congo since 2008. Alan Doss, the former head of the U.N. peacekeeping force there at the time asked the Security Council for helicopters, drones and other items to improve real-time intelligence gathering.
The request was never met, but the idea generated new interest last year after M23 rebels began taking over large swathes of eastern Congo. Rwanda, which has denied allegations by U.N. experts that it has been supporting M23, made clear it considered Ladsous' call for deploying drones premature.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to submit a report to the Security Council in the coming weeks recommending ways of improving the U.N. force in Congo, known as MONUSCO.
Congolese troops, aided by U.N. peacekeepers, have been battling M23 - who U.N. experts and Congolese officials say are backed by both Rwanda and Uganda - for nearly a year in the mineral-rich east of the country.