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 Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 11:47 GMT
DR Congo rebels dismiss 'cannibalism'
MLC troops
The MLC has also denied its men are cannibals
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have dismissed allegations of human rights abuse against them as a means to discredit them as they prepare to take part in a transitional government.

If it turns out that one of our soldiers committed such acts, we will make him answer for his acts

Roger Lumbala
Rebel leader
Roger Lumbala, the leader of the Congolese Rally for Democracy-National (RCD-National) cast doubts on the United Nations report released on Wednesday.

A UN investigation said on Wednesday that the Ugandan-backed Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and two smaller factions, including the RCD-National, committed atrocities between October and December in the eastern Ituri province.

Open in new window : War survivors
DR Congo's displaced generation

More than 350 witnesses and victims interviewed by the UN confirmed earlier allegations that the MLC was responsible for rape, torture, executions and cannibalism near the town of Beni.

'Setup'

Mr Lumbala said that rebels guilty of abuse would be punished.

"If it turns out that one of our soldiers committed such acts, we will make him answer for his acts," he told the BBC French service.

DR CONGO'S WAR
Four years
Seven foreign armies
At least 2 million dead
Disease and abuses widespread

But he said the UN mission in DR Congo, Monuc, had not followed an agreed procedure in relation to its report.

"So far, we are not totally convinced because we had asked Monuc to set up a joint commission with the RCD-ML and the RCD-National to investigate.

"Instead of telling us first, Monuc visited Kabila, our adversary.

"It is a setup, a concerted plan to discredit and portray Mr Jean-Pierre Bemba and Mr Roger Lumbala as evil at a time when we are about to solve the Congolese crisis."

According to the peace plan in DR Congo, Mr Bemba is to become one of the three vice-presidents in the transitional government.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Sergio de Mello, UN Commissioner on Network Africa
"It is a continuation of the same horror story"

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15 Jan 03 | Africa
14 Jan 03 | Africa
13 Jan 03 | Africa
30 Dec 02 | Africa
06 Nov 02 | Africa
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