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Congo : faux-départ de l'APR ?

DRC: MONUC substantially reinforced


DRC President Joseph Kabila and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

NAIROBI, 5 Dec 2002 (IRIN) - The strength of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is to be expanded to a total of 8,700 military personnel and have its presence extended eastwards.

The UN reported on Wednesday that the Security Council had unanimously adopted a resolution agreeing to a "new concept" of operations for MONUC which included a shift of emphasis eastwards, and a significant strengthening of its military capacity through the creation of a "forward force" of two robust task forces based in Kindu and Kisangani.

The mission would provide security at sites allocated for the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process, assist in the destruction of impounded weapons and munitions, and continue to monitor the withdrawal of foreign troops from the DRC. In addition, riverine units would be used to support the reopening of the Congo river to commercial traffic, the UN said.

MONUC currently has a force of 4,309 uniformed personnel, comprising 455 military observers, 3,803 troops and 51 civilian police. These are supported by 549 international and 636 local civilian personnel.

In a separate development, during talks on Tuesday with the head of MONUC, Amos Namanga Ngongi, rebel leader Thomas Lubanga pledged security for humanitarian workers in the Ituri District of northeastern DRC.

"Mr Lubanga [leader of the Union des patriotes congolais] reacted positively and promised to provide security guarantees for the NGOs working in the region," Hamadoun Toure, the MONUC spokesman, said.
He added that in order to defuse tensions in the region, a UN humanitarian coordinator would also be appointed in Bunia.

The Security Council has called upon all parties to cooperate in the establishment of the Ituri Pacification Commission and requested UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to increase MONUC's presence in the area.