DR of Congo: parties in Ituri region sign ceasefire under UN auspices

18 March 2003

The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today announced the signing of a local-level ceasefire in the country's north-eastern Ituri region, ending weeks of spiralling violence and escalating tensions.

The agreement was signed in the town of Bunia - the site of recent power struggles between rebel groups and armed militias - by representatives of the Congolese and Ugandan Governments, as well as the rebel groups, according to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

Following the signing under the auspices of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's top envoy in the region, Amos Namanga Ngongi, the parties were set to open talks aimed at launching a preparatory committee for the establishment of the long-awaited Ituri Pacification Commission. That proposed administrative panel - delayed several times by fighting between various rebel factions and militias - will have the power to ensure the security of Bunia's population, and eventually, will aim to secure a total and definite withdrawal of Ugandan troops from the DRC.


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