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DR of Congo: UN military observer killed in landmine accident

DR of Congo: UN military observer killed in landmine accident

A United Nations military observer was killed and another seriously injured this weekend when their vehicle drove over a landmine in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the incident occurred Saturday morning when the two observers drove over a mine at Komanda, 60 kilometres southwest of Bunia. The injured observer was evacuated to Kisangani for treatment.

An investigation is under way with a view to establishing the circumstances surrounding the accident, the second of its kind since the deployment of MONUC observers in the DRC in November 1999.

Meanwhile, in what MONUC hailed as an important step forward in the peace process, the official Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-G) delegation to the Commission de Suivi arrived in Kinshasa yesterday - their first visit to the capital since the conflict broke out in 1998.

The official visit marks the end of nearly two weeks of intense negotiations in both Kinshasa and Goma led by MONUC chief Amos Namanga Ngongi. UN observers escorted the RCD-G leaders, who are expected to discuss the implementation of a power-sharing deal with government representatives, political parties and other rebel groups.

In early April, all sides gave final approval to the creation of a new constitution and comprehensive multi-party administration, which will lead to the holding of elections after a two-year transition period. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has hailed the agreement as offering the "best chance" for the Congolese people to restore peace after nearly five years of civil war.