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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK
UN agrees on DR Congo force
UN peacekeepers in Bunia
The UN appealed for international help in the region

The United Nations Security Council has given the go ahead for a French-led international force to restore order in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 1,000 peacekeepers will be deployed to Ituri province to halt the ethnic fighting that has left more than 400 dead in recent weeks.

A small lightly-armed UN force already in the province, and its capital Bunia, has been unable to stop the violence that is causing thousands of civilians to flee the area.

The new troops - who will be in place until September - have been authorised to use force under the UN charter.

France has said it will provide half of the international force, with other soldiers expected to come from both western and African countries.

The latest uprising by the Hema and Lendu tribal groups was sparked by the withdrawal of Ugandan forces from the area at the beginning of May.

The new troops will provide badly needed security in the town and airport, allowing aid agencies to work there safely.




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