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UN mission stepping up efforts to stem illegal arms flows to DR of Congo

17 March 2004 Responding to the Security Council's recent condemnation of illegal arms flows to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the UN mission there today said it will concentrate on helping to control the black market traffic in weapons bound for the Central African country.

The spokesman for the UN Organization Mission for the DRC (MONUC), Hamadoun Toure, reminded journalists in Kinshasa that in a resolution approved on Friday, the 15-member Council re-affirmed the obligations of all States to prevent the provision of arms, materiel and other assistance to armed groups operating in North and South Kivu and in Ituri.

He added, however, that maintaining an arms embargo was not enough, if no solution to the conflict in the eastern region was found.

The Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, William Lacy Swing, regarded the Council resolution as extra pressure for the implementation of the July 2003 arms embargo, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, MONUC's marine forces were deployed in the area of Lake Albert to watch for any arms flows to the country's eastern region, Mr. Toure said.

MONUC's military spokesman, Col. Abou Thiam, said at least 30 foot patrols and 50 vehicular patrols had been organized by the mission's Ituri Brigade for Bunia and other patrols had been deployed in other Ituri districts.

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