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Militia leaders arrested in Kinshasa

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KINSHASA, 2 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - Several leaders of the militia group that is accused of having executed nine Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers on Friday in Kafe village, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's northeastern Ituri District, have been arrested, Justice Minister Kisimba Ngoy told IRIN on Wednesday.

He declined to give further details, other than that the men were arrested in the capital, Kinshasa, and that judicial investigations were in progress to establish those responsible.

The UN Mission in the Congo, known as MONUC, confirmed that the arrests had been made.

"Etienne Lona, one of the leaders of the Front des nationalistes integrationnistes [FNI], gave himself up to MONUC on Tuesday," Kemal Saiki, MONUC's director of information, told IRIN.

The main leader of the FNI, Floribert Ndjabu, told IRIN that he was under surveillance in his home.

"We and our movement are falsely accused of the assassination, but we continue to demand an inquiry and we know that there will be only one outcome, our innocence," Ndjabu said.

Saiki said he had been told that generals Goda Sukpa and Germain Katanga were also under surveillance in their homes.

Several leaders of rebel groups were promoted to generals in the national army after they gave up their fight and joined the transitional government.

On Tuesday, during a ceremony in memory of the Bangladeshi troops killed, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the DRC, William Swing, said, "We keep the leaders of the armed groups and militants in Ituri responsible."


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