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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
18 January 2006

CONGO: ICRC suspends aid in Pool region

BRAZZAVILLE, 18 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - Worsening insecurity has forced the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to pull out of Pool, a troubled region in the Republic of the Congo (RoC).

"The suspension will continue until it is believed that security has returned," said the head of the ICRC's delegation in RoC, Christophe Martin, at a press conference in the capital, Brazzaville.

He said the decision was officially made last Saturday.

The ICRC had been assisting medical centres with services for around 60,000 people in Pool. It has also been providing clean water to many local communities.

Pool is a stronghold of former rebels known as the Ninjas, many of whom are yet to be disarmed and demobilized, although the RoC’s civil war ended in 2003.

In recent months, ICRC workers have been threatened and attacked by bandits who, they say, move freely throughout the Pool region.

Members of the local population were being attacked the most frequently though, Martin said. "They are the ones who are robbed when they come to Brazzaville to sell their goods. Many are raped and some are killed."



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