UN troops fan out in northeastern DR of Congo, deploy to site of massacre

14 October 2003

United Nations troops have begun to fan out from their base of Bunia in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) towards, among other objectives, the site of a recent massacre, a UN spokesman said today.

The spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said the 175 blue-helmeted soldiers had been deployed near a town in Ituri province where some 65 persons were massacred 6 October. Other troops would be assigned to three more areas in Ituri, he said, and still more soldiers would be stationed in other parts of Ituri at the end of November, pursuant to a Security Council resolution "to help to stabilize the security conditions and improve the humanitarian situation" in the province.

The UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), meanwhile, said in a press release today that the head of the operation, William Lacy Swing, on Monday presided over an international planning meeting to discuss the upcoming elections in the country.

Mr. Swing told the group, "Elections in the DRC will be the most complex and difficult the United Nations has ever witnessed in regard to the size of the country and the number of potential voters, around 23 millions," the statement said.


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