United Nations peacekeepers say they have killed more than 50 militia fighters in an offensive in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The killings come just days after the deaths of nine Bangladeshi soldiers serving with the UN mission in Congo (Monuc) in the north-eastern Ituri region.
Ethnic Lendu villagers have accused UN soldiers of massacring people, including women and children, at the height of a two-day counter-offensive in the area.
But Monuc denies this, saying the militiamen were killed during an operation to disarm brutal killers, and they were fired at first.
Do you think UN peacekeepers in DR Congo should play a more robust role in enforcing the peace? Or is there a danger of Monuc itself becoming embroiled in DR Congo's conflict like another militia group and abandoning its neutrality?
Let us know your views using the form on the right.
A selection of your comments will be broadcast on Saturday 5 March on the BBC's Focus on Africa programme at 1700GMT.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Of course UN peacekeepers should play a more robust role. Should they merely stand about the jungle and witness atrocities they are meant to prevent? How else is their presence to be taken seriously?
Patrick Slimmon, Toronto, Canada
I firmly believe that UN peacekeepers must be able to use force, in order, not only, defend themselves but also, and more importantly, to carry out their mandate as a protective force. While peacekeepers are not peacemakers, their duty to protect vulnerable populations that they have been legally charged with must include the means to fulfil those duties, hence, if necessary, the use of military force. Having said hat, I have concerns about how the right to use force could be abused. The UN must ensure accountability, transparency and legality of their peacekeepers. One way this might be achieved is to invite and include observers from NGOs or the international media during peacekeeping operations.
Gazaly Malek, Montreal, Canada
Monuc soldiers only attacked Lendu militia after nine soldiers were murdered by such rebels. Your story pointed out that Lendu militia men are refusing to give up their weapons. I believe that the UN waited too long to start fight against this deadly group. Apparently this group has been involved in killing innocent civilians for years. I say hurray to the UN for finally showing backbone and going after the bad guys. Good job.
Patricia Kayden, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Yes, of course, whenever peoples lives are involved, there shouldn't be any limitations for the peacekeepers.
Aitor, Toronto, Canada
I think the UN peacekeepers should play a more robust role in keeping the peace in DR Congo. As a matter fact they should have done this ages ago, because these militias have been terrorising woman and children in the province of Ituri for a very long time now, and the majority of them are not willing to disarm. As a Congolese myself I think these militias do not want peace whatsoever, all they want is to plunder the mineral riches in the area and they will not let anyone get in there way not even the UN. They use the excuse that they are protecting there own people and want political recognition but all that is to divert attention from what they are doing. As for the danger of Monuc becoming embroiled in the conflict, is impossible because the UN has more sturdy artillery and is a stronger force compared to the local militia. So in my opinion I think the UN should go in and disarm these people by force if they have to, arrest their leaders once and for all.
Roustan Kinioko, Coventry, England
Monuc has been severely criticized as a toothless bulldog for failing to protect under threat from militias. Congolese have demonstrated against the UN for doing nothing while chaos reigned in the countryside. The militias' new strategy is now to kill the peacekeepers because they are interfering with their illegal trade to plunder Congo's natural resources. The UN had to show that it meant business. The message now is you cannot kill peacekeepers and get away with it. Doing nothing will only set a bad precedent for others to follow, discredit the whole concept of peacekeeping, and threatens the lives of peacekeepers everywhere. The UN remains neutral in conflicts, but neutrality does not mean turning the other cheek, or looking away when civilian lives are threatened. Robust peacekeeping means fighting back in self-defence. The only way Monuc can be respected by undisciplined thugs is to show that while they are for peace, they will fight back when attacked. Otherwise why send peacekeepers battlefields with weapons when they cannot use them under threat?
Taurai Nhema, New York, USA