DR Congo

DR Congo: United Nations investigates allegations of gold trafficking in Ituri

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Recent media reports have echoed allegations, made more than two years ago, that United Nations Peacekeepers based in the Ituri District of North Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have engaged in gold and weapons trafficking in 2004/2005.

As soon as these serious allegations surfaced and were brought to its attention in 2006, MONUC, the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC, immediately requested that the matter be thoroughly investigated by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

A full inquiry was initiated, independently from MONUC, by OIOS-Nairobi, in accordance with OIOS mandate to investigate instances of serious misconduct. Upon completion of its investigation, the Office of Internal Oversight Services will communicate its report and recommendations to the United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO), for appropriate action with the Troops Contributing Countries of the concerned contingent personnel, in line with current UN procedures.

As a matter of policy, the United Nations does not comment on investigations in progress, for which the report and recommendations have yet to be officially transmitted to the appropriate authorities.

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has an absolute zero-tolerance policy on misconduct and will remain vigilant in preventing egregious and unacceptable behavior. MONUC is determined to relentlessly pursue the disciplining of anyone whose conduct is substantiated as unbecoming a Peacekeeper.

At the same time, MONUC reiterates its confidence in the vast majority of its Blue Helmets, who are holding themselves to the highest UN standards, and its gratitude for their selfless and splendid work in the service of peace in a long beleaguered country, particularly in Ituri where they have disarmed and demobilized more than 15,000 militia.

Thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of the UN Peacekeepers, the DRC was able to hold, in 2006, its first, free and democratic elections in more than 40 years, in a secure environment, paving the way for the return of peace and stability in the region.