DR of Congo: Annan 'deplores' rebel group's harassment of UN mission
Responding to acts of harassment by a rebel group against the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced his support for the UN peacekeepers and his top envoy to the country.
A spokesman for Mr. Annan said in New York that the Secretary-General "strongly deplores" the recent public attacks against MONUC, in particular attempts by the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD-G) to "ban" his Special Representative, Amos Namanga Ngongi.
The Secretary-General also decried the "expulsions" of several MONUC personnel from areas under control of the RCD-G, as well as the physical intimidation of Mission personnel, spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.
"[The Secretary-General] trusts that the international community will remain fully supportive of the courageous UN staff operating in the country, in particular Mr. Ngongi, who enjoys his full confidence," Ms. Okabe said.
"The RCD-G leadership should put an end to these unjustifiable attacks and realize that it is in its own interest, and indeed in that of the people of the DRC, to cease harassment of UN officials, cooperate fully in investigations of recent events in Kisangani, and help move the peace process forward," she added.
On Sunday, MONUC recalled two of its staff members from Goma, saying the decision to bring them back to Kinshasa was taken for their own protection following an "expulsion" order issued by RCD officials Saturday in Goma.
In a statement released yesterday, the UN Mission strongly denied any wrongdoing by the two and strongly protested the intimidation tactics used by the RCD, which included deploying troops around the residence of the UN personnel.