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Ultimatum against militants of defeated candidate

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MISNA - November 23, 2006 10:22 AM

Jean-Pierre Bemba supporters in Kinshasa The "uncontrolled" elements of the militia of the defeated presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former rebel leader, must be "neutralized": as stated by Interior Minister Denis Kalume, while President Joseph Kabila - confirmed provisionally after victory in the runoff - gave his rival 48 hours to move his personal guards out of Kinshasa.

According to the Minister, "measures must be taken to neutralize this band of uncontrolled people who threaten to set the city ablaze". Diplomatic sources told the press that Bemba has accepted to send his around 600 men to the area of Maluku, around 80km from the capital. Last Tuesday the militants loyal to Bemba - who is also one of the 4 exiting vice-presidents - opened fire against police forces that were dispersing a demonstration of his supporters outside the Supreme Court, where a hearing was underway to evaluate his appeal of the results.

The demonstrators also set fire to rooms in the court, destroying electoral material. The CIAT - the international committee for support of the transition - yesterday defined the attack on the Supreme Court as "a criminal act", while an announcement was made of the adjournment and transferal of the legal case filed by Bemba, who rejected Kabila's victory with 58.05%.

William Swing, head of the UN Mission in DR-Congo (MONUC), yesterday met with both Kabila and his rival to find a peaceful solution. In the past weeks the two candidates had publicly pledged to "bow" to the verdict of the polls. Bemba's militants were also involved in incidents in Kinshasa on November 11 resulting in 4 victims; in August, men of the two candidates engaged in clashes in the capital that left some 23 dead.


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