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Rebels Take Bukavu In Eastern Dr Of Congo


Rebels Take Bukavu In Eastern Dr Of Congo, Protesters Target UN

The town of Bukavu in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) fell to dissident forces today, while troops from the national army either fled or sought sanctuary among troops serving with the United Nations peacekeeping force (MONUC) and looters ransacked UN premises.

The town was effectively being controlled by General Laurent Nkunda of the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie-Goma (RCD-Goma) and the former deputy regional military commander Colonel Jules Mutebutsi, UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

Some other RCD-Goma leaders had joined the DRC's multi-factional Transitional Government, along with leading members of the former Kinshasa government, the Mayi-Mayi militias, the Mouvement de liberation du Congo, RCD-Kisangani/Mouvement de liberation, and RCD-National.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on "all parties concerned to put an immediate end to the hostilities and abide by the cease-fire," Mr. Eckhard said.

"The Secretary-General encourages the Transitional Government to address the issue in a consensual manner and reaffirms MONUC's availability to assist in this regard," he said.

After listening to a briefing on the situation by the Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the Security Council president for June, Ambassador Lauro Baja of the Philippines, said the Council condemned the violence and the violation of human rights accompanying it.

The Council also condemned "the incitement of hatred, especially against members of the local community, in particular those aimed at the Banyamulenge," he said.

Some 2,000 people crossed the border to Cyangugu, in south-western Rwanda, last week, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They have been identified as mainly Congolese Tutsi, also known as Banyamulenge,

About 1,060 MONUC troops are stationed in the town, MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Toure said, noting that the parties had signed the 1999 Lusaka Accord and the 2002 Global and Inclusive Accord.

Negotiations were now going on to re-establish the cease-fire and restore calm in Bukavu, he said.

In the fighting, the UN World Food Programme's (WFP) warehouse was looted and the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were attacked, Mr. Eckhard said.

In other parts of the DRC, demonstrators in Kisangani and the national capital, Kinshasa, expressed anger over the rebel taking of Bukavu, he said. In Kisangani, a UN building and vehicle were set on fire and the vehicle's driver was missing, while in Kinshasa, two UN vehicles were set on fire.

UNHCR said that for the first time in days 50 people fled to south-western Rwanda today. The agency has reinforced its staff at the Nyagatare transit centre in the area to deal with the influx of refugees.

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