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Congo's Ethnic Militias Sign Agreement to Boost Free Movement in Bunia

Leaders of ethnic Hema and Lendu militias in Congo’s northeastern town of Bunia have come to an agreement to encourage freedom of movement between their communities in the town. The United Nations force that has responsibility for the town’s security is expected to supervise and enforce the deal. The agreement comes about three weeks after the U.N. force took over responsibility for the town’s security from a European Rapid Reaction Force. U.N. officers have pushed militia leaders to negotiate peace agreements. The officers are also planning to deploy the U.N. force into the surrounding mineral-rich province of Ituri, where fighting between the rival militias and attacks on civilians are continuing. But even this latest agreement is already in jeopardy. Shortly after the agreement was announced, the principal Hema militia, the UPC [or Union of Congolese Patriots] accused Lendus of the murder of a UPC worker. Lendu leaders denied any involvement, and welcomed a possible U.N. investigation into this and other killings. Full Story

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