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Ahead Of Poll UN Joins In Policing DR Congo

Ahead Of Poll UN Joins In Policing DR Congo Capital Against Armed Groups, Weapons

New York, Oct 3 2006 2:00PM

United Nations police today began joint patrols with national and European security forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, in a crackdown on armed groups and unauthorized weapons ahead of presidential elections at the end of the month.

“The objective of these patrols is to prevent risks of armed clashes in Kinshasa by verifying the implementation of the prohibitive measure against armed troops’ movement,” the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) said in a statement on the operation dubbed ‘Kinshasa, city without weapons.’

“The patrols will control anyone moving on the public highway or in public places with firearms.”

The patrols follow an agreement between President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, the two candidates in the 29 October run-off presidential poll that is intended to seal the vast country’s transition from a disastrous six-year civil war to peace and democracy.

The new joint patrols comprise elements of the Congolese National Police, Military Police of the DRC’s Armed Forces, the Formed Police Unit (MONUC’s maintenance of order unit), MONUC’s Western Brigade and EUPOL, which provides technical assistance at the request of the European Force in the DRC.

Ends

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