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French Troops Arrive in Congo

A contingent of French troops has arrived in the northeastern corner of Congo, where recent ethnic violence has left over 500 dead, the United Nations said. Two planeloads of soldiers flew in to Bunia’s airport early Friday to prepare for the arrival of a larger EU-led force intended to stabilize the area after Ugandan troops withdrew May 7. The French troops force will check “the tactical situation on the ground … the geography … the state of the airstrip” and organize security for planes bringing the main force of up to 1,700 troops, The Associated Press quoted Col. Daniel Vollot, commander of U.N. forces in Bunia, as saying. Vollot would not say how many troops have arrived in Bunia, capital of the troubled Ituri province, which has seen recent battles between rival Hema and Lendu tribal fighters. French troops at the airport told Reuters that about 100 French soldiers had flown into the town. They arrived with Jeep-type reconnaissance vehicles and light weapons, and some of the troops immediately began patrolling the perimeter of the airstrip. Full Story

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