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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
DR Congo rebel chief 'to disarm'
Former DR Congo militiaman
The UN has been trying to disarm fighters across eastern DR Congo
A Congolese rebel leader who kidnapped seven Nepalese United Nations peacekeepers in May has agreed to lay down his weapons, the UN says.

Peter Karim and 60 of his fighters have agreed to end their war against the government, a UN spokesman said.

Two of the Nepali UN troops were released in June, and the remaining five were freed on Saturday.

A UN spokesman in the Democratic Republic of Congo described the news as a boost before this month's elections.

Mr Karim and his Front of Nationalists and Integrationists (FNI) militia are one of several armed groups based in the volatile, mineral-rich north-eastern Ituri province.

The UN mission in DR Congo (Monuc) has been helping the Congolese army to disarm militias across the east, ahead of elections on 30 July.

The polls are intended to end the transition period following the official end of DR Congo's five-year war in 2003.

There are some 17,000 UN troops in DR Congo - the largest peacekeeping force in the world.


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