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The BBC's Mark Dummit
"The government seems to behind these moves"
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Amadou Touray, head of UN mission
"The population gave them a very jubilant welcome"
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Friday, 20 April, 2001, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Congo rebels allow UN to deploy
Rebel leader Alphonse Onusumba and British ambassador Jim Atkinson
Diplomatic intervention: Onusumba and British ambassador Jim Atkinson
United Nations troops have been deployed in the rebel-held town of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Moroccan troops were scheduled to fly in last Sunday, but were blocked by rebels who accused the UN of failing to condemn alleged ceasefire violations by Congolese Government forces.

A UN spokesman said the peacekeepers had been welcomed by rebel leader Adolphe Onusumba when they finally landed in Kisangani, the country's third-largest city.

UN troops
UN is planning to deploy 3,000 troops
The rebels are reported to have dropped their objections to the UN deployment after talks with ambassadors from the United States and other Security Council member states.

The BBC correspondent in the DRC says that the UN mission in the country will now be breathing a sigh of relief.

The war in the former Zaire has sucked in the armies of five neighbouring African countries.

DRC government forces, backed by Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia have been fighting rebels supported by Rwanda and Uganda for the past two-and-a-half years.

Slow progress

A peace treaty was signed in 1999. But the implementation of the accord only started after the assassination of DR Congo President Laurent Kabila in January.

When the rebels said on Sunday that the UN troops could not land in Kisangani, there were fears that peace process would stall again.

The UN is planning to deploy 3,000 troops over the next few months along Congo's frontline positions.

The force will monitor and verify last month's 15-km (9-mile) withdrawal by the armies involved in the war.

Congolese rebels
Rebels reported to have welcomed UN troops
Rwandan-backed rebels had initially barred the deployment of blue helmets until, it said, the UN condemned atrocities allegedly committed by Congolese soldiers in rebel-held areas in Eastern Kasai Province.

UN observers did confirm that some of the reported ceasefire violations had taken place - a village was burnt and several people were reported to have been raped or killed.

But the UN mission in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, said it was not their job to condemn anyone and that the two issues were not linked.

The UN troops were allowed to deploy following talks between the rebels and a delegation representing the UN Security Council.

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See also:

16 Apr 01 | Africa
UN alleges DR Congo exploitation
15 Apr 01 | Africa
Congo ceasefire 'broken'
16 Jan 01 | Africa
DR Congo's troubled history
26 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
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