Death toll up to 90 after latest militia clash in DR of Congo, UN mission reports

12 August 2002

United Nations military observers have discovered 15 more bodies at the residence of the Governor of Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bringing to 90 the death toll following last week's fierce clashes between two factions of a rebel group.

According to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), Bunia, in the northeast part of the country, has on a number of occasions been the scene of intense fighting between armed groups from the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups belonging to the Congolese Rally for Democracy – Kisangani/Liberation Movement (RCD-K/ML).

During last week's fighting, MONUC said it appeared that the RCD-K/ML split along ethnic lines between the two groups.

Over the weekend, the UN's Deputy Force Commander in the DRC, Gen. Roberto Martinelli visited the town and reported that Ugandan Army troops were now in control of Bunia and had expelled the militias in an effort to prevent further fighting.

Meanwhile in Uganda, MONUC chief Amos Ngongi has been meeting with senior officials to discuss the peace accord between the DRC and Rwanda that was signed in Pretoria at the end of July.

Mr. Ngongi was also expected to raise the situation in Bunia with the Ugandan authorities and remind them of their obligations to protect the civilian population in the town, a UN spokesman said.


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