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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 21:21 GMT
Security Council visits DR Congo
By Mark Doyle
BBC News, Bukavu

Internally displaced Congolese wait to see a doctor in eastern DR Congo
Many have fled from their homes due to violence in the region
Ambassadors from the United Nations Security Council have made an unusual visit to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They wanted to see for themselves the realities of the country's fragile peace agreement, backed by a UN peacekeeping force.

They have visited the Congolese town of Bukavu on the border with Rwanda.

The two countries have waged several wars, either directly or through proxy, often for control of the key town.

The diplomats' first view of the Bukavu area was a beautiful scene from a helicopter.

There are dramatic volcanoes here, rolling green hills and enchanting lakes. But this is deceptive.

Land hunger

The fertile hills and valleys of both this part of DR Congo and Rwanda have attracted a very dense population.

Land hunger is one of the fundamental reasons for conflict here.

Bukavu last changed hands in June this year when a warlord seized the town.

QUICK GUIDE

He was supposed to be part of DR Congo's post-war integrated army, made up of the opposing factions.

The UN suspected the warlord was backed by Rwanda, although Rwanda denied it.

The UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo suffered a severe blow to its credibility because it failed to stop the takeover.

Subsequently, soldiers loyal to the Congolese government retook Bukavu.

For the Security Council visit, there was heavy UN protection and the diplomats saw nothing dangerous.

I visited this area recently and, in the space of just two days, saw evidence of an attack on a village and a mass mobilisation of Congolese government troops in response to a rumour of an attack from Rwanda.

The situation here is far from stable. The UN-backed peace plan for DR Congo has made significant progress but has yet to succeed.




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