DR Congo UN reinforces peacekeepers in west to quell flareup of violence

3 March 2008The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is dispatching additional peacekeepers to Bas-Congo province in the far west of the vast African country following renewed outbursts of deadly violence there. The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is dispatching additional peacekeepers to Bas-Congo province in the far west of the vast African country following renewed outbursts of deadly violence there. Condemning the latest incidents, in which seven people were killed and a dozen injured, Alan Doss, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative, today appealed to the parties for restraint, saying further violence could only worsen local problems.Earlier this month, MONUC reported that at least 70 people were killed in several towns in Bas Congo amid clashes that followed controversial local elections, after which the mission sent police reinforcements and deployed two teams to probe the situation.MONUC also released today its human rights report for January, in which it details numerous alleged violations by members of the national armed forces, known as FARDC, the national police (PNC), as well as non-governmental militias.The report also describes hearings and convictions of violators in all three categories, along with persistent incidents of mob justice.Most of the killings, rapes, abductions and beatings reported took place in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, where it is hoped that violence will be reduced by an agreement between militias and the Government signed after the Goma Peace Conference on 23 January.In the worst incidents of the reporting period, at least 30 people were killed by militia members using firearms, machetes and hammers in several coordinated attacks near Kalonge in North Kivu. The victims had apparently fled territory controlled by the militia.The report also says that 31 children are among a group of 79 detainees transferred from Goma to the capital Kinshasa for interrogation by the Congolese military on suspicions of spying and treason. UN human rights officers are holding discussions with Congolese authorities to find a solution to their situation in the context of recent accords. read more

UN to release list of remaining tasks for complete Iraqi disarmament

Speaking after Iraq destroyed nine more banned Al Samoud 2 missiles today, its highest daily number yet, Mr. Blix, Executive Chairman the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), told a news conference in New York that the working paper “contains 29 clusters of issues and each cluster ends with a number of questions as to what Iraq could do in order to solve the issue.”The release of the paper would come almost three weeks before a Security Council deadline for UNMOVIC to provide a work programme containing what it considers the key remaining disarmament tasks and indicating what it plans to do in these tasks and what it would demand that the Iraqis do. Mr. Blix declined to identify the key issues.Mr. Blix reiterated, however, that Iraq’s destruction of the Al Samoud was real disarmament. “There is a great deal more of cooperation now and the threat (of serious consequences) certainly has brought it there – I hope it is not too late,” he told the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA). “Certainly the chopping up of the missiles is the most spectacular, the most important and tangible.”He also mentioned Baghdad’s provision of documents that had not been found before, greater cooperation in interviewing Iraqi scientists and the digging up of R-400 biological bombs on which Iraq took the initiative.Meanwhile in Iraq, UNMOVIC supervised the destruction of the nine missiles, which the UN says can exceed the 150-kilometre-range limit mandated by Council resolutions, bringing the total to 28 since the 1 March deadline set for starting the process. The concrete casing of the two already destroyed casting chambers was also destroyed.UNMOVIC conducted another private interview with an Iraqi scientist while chemical and biological teams supervised the final disposal of neutralized mustard gas at Al Muthanna and further excavation at Al Aziziyah of R-400 bombs, which Iraq says had been filled with biological agents and were destroyed in 1991.International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) teams inspected a State-owned trading company and the computer centre of a State bank and performed a car-borne radiation survey in an area southeast of Baghdad. Video of Blix’s press conference read more