DR of Congo: UN mission in talks to investigate killings in Ituri

4 March 2003

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has initiated talks with groups controlling parts of the country's Ituri region in hopes of dispatching a mission to investigate reports of violence and killings in the area.

The UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) reported today that it is in consultations with groups controlling the Bogoro area, in order to send a mission to investigate last week's outbreak of violence and alleged killings. The mission will go to the area as soon as security conditions allow.

Amid mounting international concern that the situation in Ituri - characterized by brutal violence and massive displacement - is spiralling out of control, the top UN envoy for the DRC, Amos Namanga Ngongi, said recently that he would seek Security Council action if rebels continued to block peace efforts in the region, where half a million people have been displaced, women raped and many children enlisted as soldiers.

Last week, following the release of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report on the DRC, which highlighted the "volatile" situation on the ground, the Security Council issued a press statement expressing particular concern at the situation in Ituri, and calling on the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) to cooperate fully with MONUC.

In other news from Africa, the UN multi-disciplinary technical assessment team in Côte d'Ivoire, led by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hedi Annabi, travelled to Bouaké today to meet with rebel groups.

Mr. Annabi travelled with the Secretary-General's Special Representative Albert Tevoedjre. The two are part of a 13-member expert team that arrived last week to gather the necessary information on the ground, which would allow the Secretary-General to prepare recommendations to the Security Council on any possible role the UN could play in support of the implementation of the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.

 

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