Commander of UN force in DR of Congo visits Kivus and neighbouring Burundi

16 April 2004

The commander of United Nations forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) visited the troubled eastern regions of the Great Lakes country and held talks with officials in neighbouring Burundi on enforcing the arms embargo against the Kivu Provinces in the DRC.

In connection with the deployment of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), Gen. Samaila Iliya visited Goma, Bukavu, Rutshuru, Kamanyola, Uvira, Baraka, Kalima and Shabunda.

Accompanied by his deputy, Gen. Jan Isberg, and Col. Lawrence Smith, Gen. Iliya also went to Bujumbura, Burundi, for talks with military leaders and the president of the Commission on the Cease-Fire, Gen. El Hadj Alioune Samba.

Their talks focused on coordinating operations by MONUC and Burundi, especially on maintaining surveillance of the border between the two countries and enforcing the arms embargo against the eastern DRC.

They also discussed the technical aspects of using the Bujumbura airport to facilitate the movements of the Kivu Brigade.

With a UN peacekeeping mission about to be launched in Burundi, General Iliya paid courtesy visits to the head of the UN Observer Mission in Burundi, Berhanu Dinka, and to the African Union's civilian and military missions there.

In other news, MONUC said 43 bodies have been recovered from Lake Tanganyika in northeast Katanga Province and 10 people were missing from an overloaded ferry that sank last week. A local commission of inquiry has listed another 52 people who survived, but said the ferry was licensed to carry a maximum of 35 people.

MONUC was also investigating the details of a flight by a cargo plane whose pilots were carrying forged flight licences.

The pilots made an "acrobatic" landing in Bunia yesterday evening after the airport was closed and claimed to be transporting palm oil, the Mission said.

 

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