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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 21:15 GMT 22:15 UK
New DR Congo peace move
Rival militia and tribal groups in the northeast of DR Congo have agreed to set up a power-sharing local administration in an effort to end four years of bloody ethnic warfare.

Delegates at the UN-organised Ituri Pacification Commission agreed in Bunia on Monday to an interim body that will manage the region until a new post-war national government takes over.

Drodro grave
The UN is investigating a massacre in the region
The UN mission Monuc said in a statement that said other bodies had been set up to avoid future conflicts and to protect human rights, in particular the rights of children caught up in the war.

Last week local witnesses told the mission that about 1000 people from the Hema community were killed in a three-hour massacre in the region by Lendu militia.

But the UN is now saying the figure is likely to be somewhere between 150 and 300 killed.

Monuc said it plans to send a multi-disciplinary team this week, including medical examiners, who are able to exhume bodies in mass graves and give a more accurate death toll.

President's new role

Meanwhile, the commission to oversee the implementation of the Congolese power sharing agreement, signed in South Africa earlier this month, was set up on Monday under President Joseph Kabila.

But the main rebel group, the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma, refused to send its representatives to Kinshasa, saying security guarantees were not yet in place.

Family in Ituri
Many families have lost someone in the war
The DR Congo conflict started in 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda sent their soldiers in support of rebels trying to overthrow the Congolese government.

The two countries said the Kinshasa government was threatening their security by backing insurgents.

This prompted Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia to send in their forces to fight on the side of the government.

However most foreign troops have now left the country.

DR Congo peace deal signed
02 Apr 03  |  Africa
Uganda-Rwanda tension mounts
17 Mar 03  |  Africa

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