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Council Condemns Massacre in Eastern DR of Congo

UN Security Council Condemns Massacre in Eastern DR of Congo

New York, Jul 13 2005 8:00PM

The United Nations Security Council today condemned "with the utmost firmness" the weekend massacre of dozens of people in a village in the eastern South Kivu region in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and called on the UN mission to investigate the tragedy and report back as quickly as possible.

The Council also called on the DRC authorities "to prosecute and bring to justice expeditiously the perpetrators and those responsible for these crimes" in Ntulu-Mamba and requested the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to give the Government the necessary support.

It stressed the need to end attacks by armed groups on the local population, especially in the eastern Kivu and Ituri districts, "which not only cause further suffering to civilians but also threaten the stability of the entire region, as well as the holding of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which gave a commitment in Rome at the end of March to end the armed conflict and repatriate its combatants, should abide by that commitment, it said.

It welcomed the robust actions MONUC has been undertaking to fulfil its mandate and the assistance it was giving the DRC's Armed Forces in improving security conditions for the population.

Before the Council took action today, MONUC head William Lacy Swing, said the weekend incident underscored what was perhaps the main hindrance to progress in the DRC: the ongoing presence of foreign armed groups. "We have to get the foreign armed groups out of the Kivus as quickly as possible," he said.

The UN's voluntary repatriation programme had gone very well up to this point, with some 12,000 ex-fighters having left the country. But over the past year, very little progress had been made.

"We have been instituting a number of security initiatives to try to get them to go home," he said, adding that: "Also important is that we have to do our best to support the Congolese authorities in developing a new integrated republican army."

On the upcoming elections in the DRC, Mr. Swing said that there was a lot of enthusiasm, inside and outside the country, to ensure that this fall's ballot was successful. Indeed, the country was perhaps close to holding democratic elections than at any other time in its history since the 1960's, he said, adding that a lot of things were coming together that made the holding of elections "pretty much irreversible."

And while the elections were on track, they would perhaps be the largest such operation ever supported by the UN. At 2.3 million kilometres, the DRC was certainly the largest country the UN had assisted with elections. It also had an electorate the numbered at least 28 million. Indeed the sheer size of the DRC posed a wealth of challenges: It was more like a sub-continent, and contained a vast territory perhaps the size of Europe that had no roads. Mr. Swing added that no one had any identification cards in memory, and there had been no national census since 1984. "So this is the massive challenge that they face," he said.

ENDS

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