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Latest Peace Hopes Thwarted on Africa's Battlefields

Today was supposed to mark a new beginning for Bunia, a northeastern provincial town in Congo that has become the centerpiece of international efforts to bring some semblance of peace to that country. A French force was on the ground with orders from the United Nations Security Council to restore security. The daily parade of machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades along its streets was to disappear. Bunia was to be a gun-free zone. But the promise of a peaceful night’s sleep was deferred for the people of Bunia. A spokesman for the multinational force, Col. Gérard Dubois, announced that the deadline would be extended for another day, saying more talks were necessary with the militia that now controls the town. “The ultimatum was pushed back by 24 hours so that everything can be well understood,” Colonel Dubois told reporters in Bunia, according to a Reuters report. “It’s preferable to be absolutely clear before declaring a `Bunia free from arms’ than to deal with misunderstandings and incidents later.” Full Story

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