The first group of soldiers expected to take over for the Interim Multinational Force in the volatile northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is set to arrive in war-torn Bunia on Monday, the United Nations reported today.
According to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), the first 175 Bangladeshi soldiers arriving in Bunia Monday, will be followed by another 1,665 Bangladeshi troops, ahead of a projected 3,800-strong contingent that will take over from the Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF) deployed to the region last month to help quell the violence.
Local authorities and humanitarian officials in Bunia have expressed apprehensions over a security vacuum after the withdrawal of the IEMF, set for 1 September. In a series of meetings this past weekend, William Swing, the new MONUC chief, told the Ituri officials that the deployment of Bangladeshi troops was due to begin shortly.
Once deployed, he said, the Force would comprise about 3,800 soldiers from several countries. He added that the exact mandate of the Force and its possible deployment outside Bunia will be defined in a Security Council resolution currently being prepared.
In other news, MONUC welcomed the publication of the calendar for the installation of transitional institutions in the DRC. According to the calendar, the swearing-in of the Congolese vice-presidents will take place on 17 July and the first meeting of the transitional government is scheduled to take place on the 19th.