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DR Congo: UN hails arrest of militia leader

DR Congo: UN hails arrest of militia leader for attacks on civilians and peacekeepers

The UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has welcomed the arrest of a notorious militia leader thought to be responsible for attacks that caused the death of scores of civilians as well as nine peacekeepers earlier this year.

The violence took place in the Ituri district in the country’s north-east, where Justin Ngole Dalo, also known as “Koliba,” of the militia known by the French acronym of FNI, is suspected of having led attacks.

These included the slaughter of around 100 people in the Gobu locality, and involvement in the ambush that led to the deaths of nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the Kafé locality in February.

Arrested by Congolese military authorities last Friday, Koliba was transferred to the central prison in Kinshasa with assistance from MONUC, which has pledged to provide the authorities with assistance so that he can face a court.

Meanwhile, in south-eastern DRC’s Katanga province, some 25,000 civilians have been fleeing their villages after recent fighting between the national army and Mayi-Mayi militia warriors, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Citing humanitarian sources on the ground, OCHA said Congolese civilians have fled their homes following a government offensive launched in mid-November that aimed to flush out militia elements from the area.

In response, the UN World Food Programme is preparing to send 109 tons of food while OCHA and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are sending other supplies.

Physical access to internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps remains a major hurdle given the lack of proper roads or landing strips, OCHA said. An evaluation mission is planned within the next few days.

“In addition to these 25,000 new IDPs, the humanitarian community has been trying to address the needs of 70,000 previously displaced persons, but donor response has been poor and international interest lacking,” noted Anne Edgerton, OCHA Head of Office in Kalemie.

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