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In DR Congo, UN takes part in joint patrols as capital remains calm but tense

24 August 2006 Joint patrols involving United Nations troops are on the streets in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today, aiming to ensure that a UN-brokered truce between supporters of both presidential candidates holds in the wake of fighting that erupted after provisional election results were announced on Sunday.

The UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, says Kinshasa remains calm but tense since daily activities resumed yesterday in the central business district of Gombe, which was the scene of the violence.

MONUC, European Union (EU) and Congolese troops, as well as members of the security details of both President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean Pierre Bemba, are taking part in the patrols, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“Following the joint patrol today, participants in the verification team agreed to a document specifying the modalities of their cooperation. The parties will thus jointly respond to perceived violations of the agreement and investigate reported incidents in coordination with the UN peacekeepers,” he said.

Security also remains tight at Mr. Bemba’s residence near the river, the scene of heavy fighting particularly on Monday and Tuesday, MONUC said. The UN Special Representative in the DRC, William Lacy Swing, is also continuing his mediation efforts between the two presidential candidates.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on both of them to resolve any differences peacefully and the Security Council issued a statement emphasizing that “there can be no military solution to political issues in the DRC.”

The Council also “appealed to political leaders to respect the electoral calendar as established by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).” Run-off elections between Mr. Kabila, who received 45 per cent of last month’s historic vote, and Mr. Bemba, who garnered 20 per cent, are scheduled to be held on 29 October.


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