DR of Congo: UN mission deplores latest round of rebel violence

31 March 2003

The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has denounced as "incomprehensible and unjustifiable " a rebel group's provocative assault on and recapture of two small eastern towns from a rival faction within hours of signing an agreement on the country's future military structure.

According to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), troops from the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) attacked and occupied the Bunyatenge and Muhanga territories on Saturday, positions previously held by the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement (RCD-KML).

"The capture of Muhanga and Bunyatenge is a regrettable military offensive as well as incomprehensible and unjustifiable," MONUC said in a statement, noting that the capture of the two territories occurred on the very day the RCD had signed the agreement on the future military structure and on the eve of the final session of the Inter Congolese Dialogue, due to take place in Sun City, South Africa this week.

The attacks sparked large-scale population displacement in the area, might unnecessarily increase tensions in a highly troubled area, and impede the efforts of both the UN and the international community to restore peace in the DRC, MONUC said.

With that in mind, MONUC chief Amos Namanga Ngongi strongly urged the RCD to immediately halt its action by withdrawing its troops back to its positions. He further urged other parties to show restraint and avoid endangering the peace process "that is about to succeed."

 

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