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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
DR Congo massacre probe widens
By Arnaud Zajtman
BBC, Kachele

UN peacekeepers
UN troops are hunting for the killers (Pic: UN)
United Nations peacekeepers are deploying to another three villages in the strife-torn Ituri province in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

They have already set up a permanent presence near the site of clashes between Lendu and Hema ethnic militias that have claimed about 50,000 lives since 1999.

Last week, 65 people, thought to be from the minority Hema group, were killed in the village of Kachele.

The head of the UN in the Congo, William Swing and the President of the Congolese Parliament, Olivier Kamitatu, have paid a joint visit to Kachele.

'Provide security'

In the aftermath of the massacre about 200 UN armed troops have been deployed in the area.

Major Jehangir from Pakistan, is the commander of those troops.

Grave
Most of those killed in Kachele were children (Pic: UN)

"The main task is to provide security to locals and to help any locality which is being threatened by any other place from the rival tribes," he said.

"Yesterday we have conducted an air operation. There were helicopters and we dropped our troops here and though they managed to escape, we went and we assessed the complete village and the area where those suspected killers are hiding and living."

Now villagers have resumed their farming activities here and the atmosphere is peaceful, but tribal militiamen are still active in the bush and the local chief says that next time it would be good if the UN deploys troops before, rather than after massacres are committed.


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