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DR Congo: UN sends team to western region following new violence

2 February 2007 The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is immediately sending a multi-disciplinary team to the western area of the vast country where a new outbreak of violence has caused heavy loss of life and numerous injuries.

“MONUC urgently calls for the immediate cessation of all forms of violence,” the mission said in a statement today, using its acronym. The team will evaluate security in the Bas Congo region and the urgent humanitarian needs stemming from “these grave incidents,” in particular aid for the wounded.

Voicing “extreme concern,” it called on all sides to devote their efforts to restoring peace and to refrain from all acts that could exacerbate the situation further.

MONUC called on the elected officials to become involved in resolving “this deplorable situation” and demanded that security forces follow legal norms particularly with regard to the proportionality of their response.

MONUC has overseen the DRC’s transition from a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives in fighting and attendant hunger and disease, widely considered the most lethal conflict since World War II, to gradual stabilization, culminating in the first democratic elections in over four decades last year, the largest and most complex polls the UN has ever helped to organize.

More recently it has been concerned with violence at the other end of the country where certain army elements continue to harass and terrorize civilians while renegade forces who refuse to join in the demobilization and reintegration process have engaged in rape and other “intolerable violations.”

But just two days ago the mission reported that the overall situation remained calm.

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