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Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 15:55 GMT
UN confirms Congo withdrawal
Rwandan soldiers
Rwanda has conducted a well organised withdrawal
The warring parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo are pulling back from their frontline positions.

An official for the United Nations mission in the DR Congo (Monuc), Juan Pekmes, said: "The disengagement from all fronts is a reality."


Everyone is showing great willingness to move, and they are moving

UN's Juan Pekmes
The pullback, following conditions agreed last December, will see soldiers withdrawing 15km from the frontline.

The conflict, which started in August 1998, has involved forces from Rwanda and Uganda, backing the rebels, and Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, backing the Kinshasa government.

Co-operation

Mr Pekmes said that almost all Rwandan troops have already withdrawn.

"Everyone is showing great willingness to move, and they are moving."


He added that soldiers from the Rwandan backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) have also begun pulling back.

The Ugandan-backed Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) is also reported to be withdrawing.

Progress

Uganda began pulling its troops out of the northern town of Buta at the end of February, and Monuc confirmed that nearly a whole battalion had left.

The Congolese army has informed Monuc that it is beginning its withdrawal from the frontline.

Troops from Zimbabwe and Angola are also said to be disengaging from the frontline along with the Congolese forces.

Armed UN troops are expected to enforce the 15km buffer zone around the former battle sites.

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See also:

28 Feb 01 | Africa
Troops withdraw from DR Congo
16 Jan 01 | Africa
DR Congo's troubled history
26 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
21 Feb 01 | Africa
UN finds Congo child soldiers
23 Feb 01 | Africa
Congo pull-back plan welcomed
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