DR Congo

DRC: UN mission finds human remains at Kindu airport

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KINSHASA, 12 February (IRIN) - Members of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) have discovered human remains in two separate sites in the grounds of the airport of Kindu, the capital of Maniema Province in the east, according to MONUC officials.
MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Toure said the team had discovered the remains while carrying out rehabilitation work at the airport, on Monday.

"We do not know yet if it is a mass grave or not. We have no details on the human remains, and we are waiting for experts to travel to Kindu to analyse the site," he said.

"According to what the team saw, the remains could belong to three adults," Eliana Naba, a MONUC information officer, told Radio Okapi.

"We're talking about the remains of three people, who were not buried, but merely covered with some dirt, still wearing their clothes," Toure added during a news conference on Wednesday at MONUC headquarters in the DRC capital, Kinshasa. "Vividly-coloured clothing was discovered next to the remains, which could indicate that other bodies might be found."

The discovery in Kindu is not MONUC's first in the country. In August 2002, a MONUC team discovered human remains at a site in the northeastern city of Kisangani, where it was rehabilitating a building that had been made available for the UN mission's use.

An interim report released at the end of November 2002 by experts who had been sent to the site by the UN Security Council concluded that there were three mass graves in Kisangani dating back to about 1996 - the year that Laurent-Desire Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire, backed by Rwanda and Uganda, launched an offensive against the country's late leader, Mobutu Sese Seko.

Laurent-Desire Kabila came to power in 1997 after toppling Mobutu. Kabila was assassinated in January 2001 by one of his bodyguards, and was replaced by his son, Joseph.

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