DR Congo

DRC Rebels to allow food supply to besieged troops

Mildred Mulenga, PANA Correspondent
LUSAKA, Zambia (PANA) - Rebels of the Rally for Congolese Democracy have promised not to interrupt food supplies to more than 1,000 Zimbabwean, Namibian and Congolese troops besieged at Ikela in the Democratic Republic Of Congo, an official of the Joint Military Commission said.

Brig. Gen. Timothy Kazembe said the food supplies were being supervised by the commission, OAU and UN observers.

"The RCD agreed that they are not going to interfere with any supplies that would go to troops besieged. The troops have been encircled and this has made it impossible to supply food directly and food is just being dropped from the aircraft in the nearby areas for fear of being fired at," he told reporters Wednesday in Lusaka.

He returned Tuesday from the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, heading a special committee of the commission.

On the delegation were representatives from Zambia and the OAU, who visited Kinshasa, Kampala, Kigali and Goma from 16-27 December to verify reports of cease-fire violations and monitor the Ikela situation.

Kazembe said the delegation "had successful consultations and the parties involved gave the way forward to cessation of hostilities and violations."

He added that his team would be making further consultations in the next five days to find out the practical way to work out the final details of disengaging the troops on the ground.

A programme has been worked out on the disarming of armed groups that are not under control of either the government or the rebels.

Kazembe explained that before the armed groups are disarmed, humanitarian assistance has to be provided and there has to be an exchange of prisoners and the disengaging of forces before they are disarmed.

According to him, there are currently 30 OAU observers and 49 UN observers in the Congo although the UN would be deploying more forces later.

He noted that the entire programme under the cease-fire agreement on the disarming and withdrawal of forces is being revised because the calendar has been overtaken by events.

"Concerning the national dialogue, a programme has not yet been set up as this will depend on the chart to be drawn by the facilitator who has not yet met with the Joint Military Commission," he said.

The mission is expected soon to meet with the leadership of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo as well as the authorities of the Central African Republic for similar consultations.


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