The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has called for swift implementation of “reforms of the state services” to fight poverty and corruption.
In a keynote address to a major civil society gathering yesterday in the capital, Kinshasa, Alan Doss offered UN support for the reforms, without which, he said, the fight against poverty would be hampered.
Mr. Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUC), asked the participants to come up with a workable strategy.
“Your ideas to consolidate peace, to end impunity, ensure the democratic electoral processes, and support reforms in institutions and governance practices will be critical,” he said.
In a related development, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York that MONUC peacekeepers had deployed over the weekend to a village near the north-eastern town of Dungu where the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) killed one person, wounded 20 others, and burned some 20 huts.
Last Friday in the Bukavu area, a peacekeeping patrol exchanged fire with a group of Rwandan rebels after the rebels attacked a bus at a roadblock, she said.
Meanwhile, MONUC also reported that it is providing logistical assistance to Congolese judicial authorities in the trial of Mai Mai militiamen charged with mass rapes and torture.
The trial opened two days ago in a regional court in Province Orientale. The mission says it provided helicopters to help get judicial personnel to the remote area, some 290 miles from the provincial hub of Kisangani. UN human rights experts will also be monitoring the proceedings, MONUC said.
Thirty-four Mai Mai fighters are on trial for a spree of sexual violence, including the alleged rape of more than 135 women and children in July 2007.