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Militias disrupting disarmament and reintegration efforts in DR of Congo - UN

27 January 2005 Two rebel militias, who are about to become integrated into the national army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of a peace accord ending several wars, are trying to destabilize the eastern Ituri region, slowing United Nations disarmament and reintegration efforts there.

Denouncing militia activities, the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) is calling on the leaders of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and the Front of the Nationalists for Integration (FNI), who are to become senior officers in the national army, to assume their responsibilities and instruct their members to hand in their weapons within the framework of the disarmament and reintegration programme.

Ituri has been torn by factional conflicts for years, most recently earlier this month when thousands of refugees fled into neighbouring Uganda from ethnic fighting between the militias. The UPC is Hema and the FNI Lendu.

MONUC also denounced threats made against militia members who want to give up their arms.

According to the latest statistics, as of Monday, 2,474 former fighters have entered into the transit centres in Ituri, and 14,499 weapons and munitions have been handed in.

In other action, the UN Mission has been distributing humanitarian aid in some towns along the Congo River in the country's east while UN peacekeepers have been distributing drinking water, in collaboration with Doctors Without Borders, in Kimbansk, a poor district of the capital, Kinshasa, where a typhoid epidemic has broken out.



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