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Last Updated: Monday, 9 February, 2004, 11:35 GMT
DR Congo peacekeepers 'can leave'
UN soldiers
UN peacekeepers were last week attacked in eastern DR Congo
Security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is improving so fast that United Nations troops can leave this year, President Joseph Kabila has said.

He told the BBC that the peacekeepers should instead start training DR Congo's army and police force.

Some 10,000 UN troops are in DR Congo to monitor a peace deal which ended almost five years of war.

Former rebels have joined a power-sharing government, tasked with organising elections next year.

Mr Kabila also insisted that these elections would go ahead as planned.

Political will

In January, the head of the UN mission in DR Congo said it was possible "on a technical level" to hold the poll on schedule.

President Joseph Kabila
Kabila insists that elections will be held next year
However William Swing said it depended on the political will, which was "less certain".

Despite the peace deal, parts of eastern DR Congo in particular remain dangerous with many different armed groups killing, raping and looting.

Last week, UN troops were attacked there and more than 100 boat passengers were killed in January.

Mr Kabila took power in 2001, after his father Laurent was assassinated.

An estimated three million people were killed in the war, which also drew in the armies of six neighbouring countries.

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