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Ituri: new rebel group distributes arms despite un embargo?

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MISNA - September 24, 2005 10:30 AM

The self-styled MRC (Congolese Revolutionary Movement) apparently distributed arms and cash to militias active in Ituri in the past days in Bambu, around 50km from Bunia, east Dmocratic Republic of Congo. The news was communicated to MISNA by western sources, specifying that the armed group - formed recently by elements that did not participate in the disarmament that regarded a large part of the militias involved in the war 1998-2003 - is stocking up arms, despite a United Nations embargo throughout DR-Congo. Based on available information, the new recruits - reportedly including government soldiers stationed in Ituri - were consigned around $100 in cash. If confirmed, this would represent further evidence that the movement - whose origin is for the moment unknown - benefits from significant external support, with probable ties in Uganda and Rwanda, already directly involved in backing rival militias active in Ituri during and after the conflict. The activities of this new armed group - which first emerged under three months ago - are taking place in zones not controlled by the MONUC (UN Mission in DR-Congo), which counts over 5,000 peacekeepers in Ituri, nor the Congolese regular armed forces. Also the MONUC has reported sporadic attacks by combatants of the MRC. There is also strong concern over the discontent of thousands of former combatants of Ituri, where in the past year some 12-13,000 militiamen were demobilised. In response to an inquiry conducted by the Radio Okapi broadcast of the MONUC, many said they are ready to take up arms again due to the failed implementation - in their view - of measures foreseen by the disarmament programme: a monthly salary of around 50 Euro and other interventions for their reintegration in society.


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