DR Congo

DRC: MLC arrests soldiers for rights violations

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KINSHASA, 14 January (IRIN) - The Mouvement de liberation du Congo rebel group (MLC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has arrested five of its soldiers accused of committing human rights violations in Ituri District, in the northeast of the country.
"We have arrested and sent Lt-Col Freddy Ngalimo, the head of military operations in Ituri, to Gbadolite. We have also arrested four others, who are waiting to be sent to Gbadolite," Jean-Pierre Bemba, the head of MLC, told IRIN.

Ituri has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent weeks between the MLC and its ally, the Rassemblement congolais pour la Democratie-National (RCD-N), against the RCD-Kisangani-Mouvement de liberation.

"Those we have arrested are accused of rape, stealing and other crimes. Our inquiry has not turned up evidence concerning the accusations of cannibalism," Bemba said.

The chief of public information for the United Nations Mission in the DRC, Patricia Tome, said that UN investigations had also revealed reports of widespread rape, looting and pillage in the area.

The arrests have occurred just as UN Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello is on mission in the DRC. Bemba is due to meet him on Thursday.

[ENDS]

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