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Military Key Militia Leader Arrested in Congo

09 April 2005

United Nations peacekeepers and government soldiers in Congo have arrested a key militia leader accused of human rights abuses in the northwestern Ituri region.

Government officials say Kahwa Mandro, who heads the Party for Unity and Safeguarding of the Integrity of Congo, was arrested Saturday in Ituri's capital, Bunia.

The leader of the ethnic Hema group is accused of killings, kidnappings and extortion.

Last month, Congo's government arrested several militia leaders of ethnic Hema and Lendu groups. Fighting between the two groups has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1999.

The U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo stepped up military operations against armed groups in February after nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers were ambushed and killed in Ituri province.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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