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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
DR Congo rebels accused of atrocities
Boats on the River Congo in Kisangani
The war has disrupted trade on the River Congo

United Nations military observers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accused Rwandan-backed rebels of grave human rights violations during clashes last week in Kisangani.

A report issued by the observers says rebels from the Rally for Congolese Democracy ( RCD) carried out summary executions in response to a mutiny involving a number of armed men.

The mutineers had taken over a radio station and begun broadcasts inciting local people to kill Rwandans.

Five people thought to be Rwandans were killed.

The UN report says the RCD reacted in an unjustified and unacceptable way.

It says in one district 18 people were executed in reprisal killings by the RCD rebels.

The UN has repeatedly called for the demilitarisation of Kisangani as part of efforts to halt the civil war in DR Congo but these calls have so far been ignored.

Peace process

The UN says it has been approached by individuals seeking protection because they believe their lives are under threat.

Kisangani
Kisangani has already been ravaged by the civil war
UN officials insist that the withdrawal of armed groups from Kisangani would be an important symbolic gesture that would add momentum to what has been a slow and tortuous peace process.

Kisangani also serves as a logistics base for the UN military observer mission in DR Congo, known as Monuc.

The killings took place a few weeks after the government of President Joseph Kabila signed a peace deal with some rebel groups but not the RCD.

Jean-Pierre Bemba from the Ugandan-backed Movement for the Liberation of Congo is set to become the new prime minister in a political deal reached in South Africa.


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17 May 02 | Africa
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