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EU suspends projects in North Kivu

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KINSHASA, 1 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The delegation of the European Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) suspended two projects in the province of North Kivu on Wednesday, following the looting of installations of the NGO German Agro Action by militiamen in Nyabondo Territory.

One of the suspended projects was aimed at rehabilitating the road between Masisi and Walikale, the spokeswoman of the EU delegation, Stephanie Carrette, said. The road project was linked to an effort to help vulnerable people in the Masisi-Walikale areas.

"The decision came after systematic looting of the logistics base of the NGO in Nyabiondo between 20 December 2004 and the end of January 2005," Carette said.

She said German Agro Action lost 150 canisters of gasoline, 12,000 hoes that had been earmarked for farmers, 700 bags of cement, 600 metal sheets for schools and health centres, as well as several engines.

Fighting between soldiers loyal to a former rebel faction, the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD-Goma), and troops of the regular Congolese army, was intense along the Walikale-Masisi road.

"Looking at the quantity of materials which was stolen, the looters were organised and have probably used trucks. They have never been investigated," Carette said.

"The two projects can only resume if security conditions for NGO staff improve, if the facts are established and if the perpetrators are pursued," she added.


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