Eastern province of DR Congo heading towards stability - UN official
14 March 2008 – Public safety and security are steadily increasing in the Ituri province of the militia-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a top United Nations official said today after a two-day visit.
“I am confident that stability will take place soon,” Ross Mountain, the Secretary-General’s deputy Special Representative for the DRC, said, following his participation in a consultative meeting on the Action Plan for Stabilization and Community Recovery in Ituri.
The action plan seeks to coordinate the Ituri efforts of the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Congolese Government.
As evidence of progress in Ituri, Mr. Mountain noted that in 2003 there were 800,000 displaced persons in the province and that today, the figure stands at 115,000.
He also noted that out of the seven armed groups in 2003, only two remain active and that 25,000 militiamen and 11,000 children associated with armed groups have been demobilized.
However, he added that “there is still a small number of armed people who prevent the people in Ituri from living in peace.”
He told participants in the consultative meeting that they must now help create an environment where the population feels at ease and the remaining displaced are encouraged to return home.
An important part of that effort is reinforcing the authority of the State at all levels - administrative, military, security, judicial, economic and social, he said.
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