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Colonel Pavia of the UN mission in Kisangani
"We went around collecting dead people"
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The BBC's Chris Simpson in Kisangani
"The UN is now hoping a plane will be able to get in today"
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Saturday, 10 June, 2000, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Heavy fighting resumes in Kisangani

Further heavy shelling has broken out between Rwandan and Ugandan troops around the rebel-held city of Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A United Nations observer, Major Ahmed Jamil, said the fighting had resumed after a brief truce arranged by the UN.

People are dying in the streets... the city is without water, without light and without food since the last five days

UN Commander Danilo Pavia
The UN says it hopes a plane will be able to fly in later on Saturday with emergency supplies for the city's civilians.

Colonel Danilo Pavia, the commander of the UN military observer mission in Kisangani, visited the city during the truce. He said people were dying in the streets.

During the four hour truce, electricity was restored to one hospital, doctors brought in and some humanitarian work begun.

In the UN's brief tour of the mineral-rich city, "we found 100 people dead in the streets and more than 700 wounded in two hospitals", Colonel Pavia said.

UN staff had found many disoriented children, who had been unable to reach their homes for five days.

Commanders to blame

Uganda and Rwanda have blamed each other for the rapid breakdown of an agreement brokered on Thursday by the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

But Colonel Pavia put the blame for the resumption of fighting last Monday firmly on the local commanders.

Kisangani's Roman Catholic cathedral has been damaged by shelling
He said he had a "clear ceasefire declaration" signed by both the Rwandan and Ugandan presidents, but "the commanders on the ground are not following orders".

The colonel accused them of "committing a genocide against the city", which he said had been hit by at least 1,000 shells since Monday.

The warring parties were in their trenches, he said. "The ones receiving the impact are the civilians."

Peace talks

Colonel Pavia said that the UN was still hoping to demilitarise the city, in line with the troop withdrawal agreement signed by both sides last month.

President Chiluba of Zambia
Zambia's President Chiluba is trying again to broker peace in Congo
President Chiluba of Zambia, who brokered last year's peace accord for the Democratic Republic of Congo, is due to meet President Museveni of Uganda on Saturday in another attempt to secure the withdrawal. He may then hold talks in Rwanda.

When the latest exchanges resumed on Monday, the UN Security Council said they could threaten plans to deploy a 5,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Congo.

Representatives of all the countries and rebel movements involved in the war met in Zambia on Thursday to discuss the planned deployment.

The Political Committee, set up to implement the 1999 Lusaka peace accords, will next week advise the Security Council on whether the conditions exist for it to go ahead with the deployment of peacekeepers.

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See also:

17 May 00 | Africa
Quick UN Congo force urged
10 May 00 | Africa
UN faces risks in DR Congo
08 May 00 | Africa
Congo town pull out agreed
24 Feb 00 | Africa
UN approves Congo force
05 May 00 | Africa
UN failing in Africa
25 May 00 | Africa
UN to monitor Congo pull-out
07 Jun 00 | Africa
How Uganda and Rwanda fell out
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