KINSHASA, 14 Jan 2003 (IRIN) - The Mouvement de liberation du Congo rebel group
(MLC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has arrested five of its soldiers
accused of committing human rights violations in Ituri District, in the northeast of the
"We have arrested and sent Lt-Col Freddy Ngalimo, the head of military operations in
Ituri, to Gbadolite. We have also arrested four others, who are waiting to be sent to
Gbadolite," Jean-Pierre Bemba, the head of MLC, told IRIN.
Ituri has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks between the MLC and its ally,
the Rassemblement congolais pour la Democratie-National (RCD-N), against the RCD-
Kisangani-Mouvement de liberation.
"Those we have arrested are accused of rape, stealing and other crimes. Our inquiry has
not turned up evidence concerning the accusations of cannibalism," Bemba said.
The chief of public information for the United Nations Mission in the DRC, Patricia
Tome, said that UN investigations had also revealed reports of widespread rape, looting
and pillage in the area.
The arrests have occurred just as UN Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de
Mello is on mission in the DRC. Bemba is due to meet him on Thursday.