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DR Congo: MONUC chief deplores the new clashes in Bunia between UPC and Ugandan troops

Press Release SPKM 14/2003
By Yulu Kabamba

Violent clashes between the UPC (Union of the Congolese Patriots) and Ugandan troops broke out this Thursday, 6 March 2003 in Bunia, four days after the signing of an agreement under which both parties made a commitment to refrain from military activities likely to further deteriorate their relations.

The clashes that began at 6 am occurred when all eyes are on Pretoria where an agreement ratifying the inter Congolese dialogue with a view to setting up the transition government is expected today. This is a fresh blow to the efforts put into establishing the Ituri Pacification Committee as well as a serious threat to the overall peace process.

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Namanga Ngongi, while continuing unremittingly to draw attention on the explosive situation prevailing in Bunia and Ituri, deeply regrets the new outbreak of violence which may lead to unnecessary new losses of human lives and a humanitarian disaster, with incalculable consequences.

Mr. Ngongi immediately initiated contacts with the belligerents as well as the parties concerned about the Ituri situation in order to obtain an immediate cessation of hostilities. He called on the UPC and Ugandan military leaderships to spare the lives of civilian populations and urged them to settle their differences peacefully.