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DR Congo must punish those responsible for fatal attacks on UN, Security Council says

UN News Service - January 25, 2006

The Security Council today called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to take immediate steps to bring to justice those responsible for Monday?s attack on United Nations peacekeepers, which left eight of them dead and five wounded.

The attack on a Guatemalan detachment of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC), which was involved in an operation against the Ugandan rebel Lord?s Resistance Army (LRA) reported to be in Garamba National Park, was an ?unacceptable outrage,? the Council said in a statement read by Ambassador Augustine Mahiga of Tanzania, who holds the body?s rotating presidency this month.

?The LRA have conducted a long-running and vicious insurgency in northern Uganda which has caused the death, abduction and displacement of thousands of innocent civilians in Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Council calls upon the Government of National Unity and Transition immediately to take all necessary measures to bring to justice those responsible for this attack,? he said.

It also urged States in the region to deepen their cooperation so as to end the activities of illegal armed groups, reaffirming that any threat or use of force against a country?s territorial integrity was contrary to the UN Charter.

Offering its condolences to the victims? families and to the Guatemalan authorities, the Council commended ?the dedication of MONUC?s personnel, who operate in particularly hazardous conditions.?

With regard to another development, the Council condemned with the utmost firmness the recent seizure by insurgents of villages in the Rutshuru area, North Kivu province. In that context, it expressed its concern at reported atrocities and human rights abuses as constituting a serious threat to both the peace process and the transition and it demanded that they cease immediately.

Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, MONUC chief William Swing, and Lt. Gen. Babacar Gaye, Force Commander of MONUC's 17,000-strong force, went to northeastern Ituri district to visit and offer their condolences to the five injured Guatemalan soldiers, who have been hospitalized in Bunia.

MONUC?s 105-member Guatemalan Special Forces unit arrived last year and has been based in Kisangani. Mr. Swing and General Gaye later went to the unit?s Kisangani headquarters to applaud its contribution to DRC's peace process.

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