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DR Congo: UN Meets With Disarmed Rebels

DR Congo: UN Humanitarian Chief Tours Displaced Camp And Meets With Disarmed Rebels


The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator spent the second day of his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and a demobilization site in the southern province of Katanga.

Jan Egeland, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, met with a group of recently disarmed former members of the Mayi-Mayi militia, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the region.

According to the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are an estimated 150,000 IDPs in Katanga, most of whom fled their homes due to fighting between Government forces and the Mayi-Mayi.

In recent weeks, the UN Mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, has helped broker progress on the disarmament front, which has allowed for some initial returns of displaced persons.

Mr. Egeland is expected to head tomorrow to Bukavu in South Kivu province to visit a clinic that specializes in treating victims of sexual violence.

He is also expected to make a stop in Bunia province before continuing on to Uganda and Juba, Sudan, as part of his eight-day trip to three central African nations.

Meanwhile, MONUC today expressed concern with the country’s “precarious” humanitarian situation. At a press briefing in Kinshasa, it noted that as many as 1,200 Congolese were dying on a daily basis, mainly as a result of the continuing conflict in the east.

But MONUC did express satisfaction with plans for the upcoming run-off presidential election, scheduled for 29 October.

The mission said negotiations were progressing well between President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, the two remaining candidates, following clashes between their supporters after first-round results were released last month.

MONUC noted that the printing of ballot papers for the run-off election was well under way in South Africa, as was the distribution of election kits throughout the DRC.

Ends

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