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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 23:43 GMT 00:43 UK
DR Congo rebels expel UN officials
Boats on the Congo in Kisangani
More than 200 people died in the Kisangani massacre
A main rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ordered the expulsion of two United Nations peacekeeping officials from territory it controls, saying they are a security threat.


We must expel them because their actions are hostile. An enemy must be dealt with, even if he has diplomatic accreditation

RCD spokesman
The Rwanda-backed rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), based in the eastern city of Goma, accused Lionel Gasparot and Magda Gonzalez of collaboration with the authorities in Kinshasa and their allies.

The RCD said the UN officials had links with a local terrorist group that carried out a grenade attack in the region in March.

"We must expel them because their actions are hostile. An enemy must be dealt with, even if he has diplomatic accreditation," Joseph Mudumpi, the RCD's Foreign Affairs chief said.

It is the latest of a number of disputes between the UN mission in Congo (Monuc) and the rebels, who control about a third of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The tensions increased after the Monuc accused the rebels of unjustified reprisals in response to a recent mutiny in the north-eastern city of Kisangani.

Deteriorating relations

The two officials are a Colombian political advisor to the Monuc, Magda Gonzalez, and a French security officer, Lionel Gasparot.

An RCD security official told news agencies that a man arrested for the grenade attack on a Goma church congregation had identified Miss Gonzalez and Mr Gasparot.

The official said the man confessed that the UN officials had been working with the terrorist group and supplied them with money.

Mr Gasparot is alleged to have acted as a go-between for the Kinshasa government and the terrorists.

The latest incident follows the demand by the RCD last week that Monuc withdraw a Belgian human rights official from the town of Kisangani which was the scene of a mutiny last month.

RCD also requested to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that he withdraw his special representative to Congo, Amos Namanga Ngongi.

BBC correspondent in Kigali, Helen Vesprini, says that the rebel group cited Mr Ngongi's pro-Kinshasa bias and a confidential report he wrote predicting the disintegration of the RCD.


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29 May 02 | Africa
24 May 02 | Africa
21 May 02 | Africa
15 May 02 | Africa
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