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The BBC's Mark Dummit
"Whether such a statement and the accusations of genocide slow down the momentum for peace in Congo remains to be seen"
 real 28k

Sunday, 20 May, 2001, 01:27 GMT 02:27 UK
UN warned of DR Congo 'genocide'
Some of the internally displaced Congolese children in the Congo village of Tobac.
Life in the east of Congo means hunger, disease and terror
The Democratic Republic of Congo and its allies have accused the UN of ignoring a "genocide" of 2.5 million people in the rebel-held east of the country.

"We call upon the international community, especially the United Nations, to condemn this genocide being committed," said Namibian President Sam Nujoma.

Africa's Biggest War
The conflict was sparked in August 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda invaded DR Congo, backing rebels trying to topple the late President Laurent Kabila.
Zimbabwe, Uganda and Angola stepped in to support Kabila's troops.
Laurent Kabila was mysteriously assassinated in January.
His son and successor Joseph has restored relations with the international community, allowed UN troops in, and revived the peace process.

He was speaking at a meeting with the president of DR Congo, Joseph Kabila, and the leaders of Zimbabwe and Angola.

Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola are providing military support to the DR Congo Government in its fight against the rebels.

An American aid organisation, the International Rescue Committee, has published the mortality figure cited by the Namibian president but has not said whether they had all died as a direct result of the fighting.

Mr Nujoma called on the UN to:

  • Impose sanctions on Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, the countries backing the rebels
  • Force the Ugandan-backed MLC to comply with a 1999 ceasefire, the only rebel group not to do so
  • Deploy more peacekeepers in the country

Rwanda's Tutsi-led government says its troops are in the Congo to track Hutu militiamen who massacred more than 500,000 people, mainly Tutsis, during Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

The five-hour summit coincided with a visit by 12 ambassadors of the UN who are in Kinshasa for talks with the four allied presidents.

They are there to discuss the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Congo - the supposed next step of the peace process - but Mr Nujoma said their forces would only leave once the other side had done so first.

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See also:

18 Jan 01 | Business
Congo economy 'ravaged' by conflict
18 May 01 | Africa
Foreign workers abducted in Congo
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