DR Congo: MONUC - Security situation improving in Ituri

At its weekly press conference this Wednesday 8 August 2007, MONUC expressed its sadness on the railway tragedy that occurred close to Kananga, in Kasaï Occidental which left 100 dead, while announcing that "generally, the security situation is improving in Ituri".

This improvement is manifested in a clear reduction in the number of displaced people in Ituri district, down 26% on the March 2007 figure for a new total of 153,000, according to OCHA estimates.

Also in Ituri, the third phase of the Disarmement Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process began on August 4. The MONUC Ituri brigade set up nine centres of disarmament: in Boga, Aveba, Medu and Marabo (with the Bangladeshi battalion), in Kasenyi and Mongbwalu (with the Pakistani battalion), in Doi and Bule (with the Nepalese battalion) and Dele (with the Moroccan battalion).

To date, 63 militiamen (of which 14 children were taken in by UNICEF) are already incorporated into the DDR programme, with each participant surrendering a weapon.

Meanwhile, MONUC announced its "great sadness" on the death of at least 100 people in the rail crash which occurred on August 1 at Lwemba, a region located 170 km from Kananga, in the province of Kasaï Occidental.

At this difficult time, William Swing, the UN Special Representative for the Secretary General in the DRC, expressed, in the name of all MONUC staff, his saddest condolences to the families of the victims, President Joseph Kabila and the Congolese people.

MONUC welcomes the emergency assistance given by the Congolese authorities in order to aid the victims of the tragedy. MONUC stated it will provide "all the material and human resources available in aid efforts for the victims."

Also, MONUC expressed its saddest condolences to the Congolese people and to President Kabila for the death of Professor Samba Kaputo, his special security advisor.

Furthermore, MONUC announced that its Force Commander General Babacar Gaye is today in Uganda in order to facilitate talks between the chiefs of staff of the Ugandan and Congolese Armed Forces, within the framework of control and security of their common border.