The first in a fleet of United Nations (U.N.) drones will begin monitoring rebel activity on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo next month, a U.N. commander said on Wednesday.

General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, commander with the U.N. peacekeeping brigade in the country, said the unarmed drone would be airborne by the last week of November. The brigade hopes to have surveillance 24 hours a day by “March or April”, he added.

The United Nations said in August it had ordered its first surveillance drones from an Italian company to patrol the volatile eastern region, centred around the flashpoint city of Goma.

The drones’ target will be the activities of the M23 movement. If the trial is successful in the DR Congo, where the drones will also monitor the borders with Rwanda and Uganda, they could also be used in South Sudan, Ivory Coast and in other U.N. missions. — AFP