UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
REPUBLIC OF CONGO: IRIN News Briefs, 22 October
Military helicopters flying assistance to Kindamba Kinkala convoy starts on Friday President marks second anniversary Pro-Lissouba officers freed Mercenary enquiry called "frivolous"
Military helicopters flying assistance to Kindamba
Military helicopters have been flying in food and medical assistance and evacuating the most vulnerable from Kindamba, northwest of Brazzaville, since government forces recently took it from rebels, an update from the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the ROC said. According to the report, a spontaneous site of 1,700 people, including some 400 seriously malnourished children is being maintained in the town under the protection of government forces. The fall of Kindamba has also reportedly resulted in a recent wave of arrivals in Brazzaville.
Kinkala convoy starts on Friday
The regular food and medicines delivery convoy to Kinkala started on Friday, the UN report said. Security would be provided by the government. The report added that a WFP vessel carrying some 288 mt of CSB [nutritional therapy mixture] was due to arrive in Pointe Noire next Monday to provide for tens of thousands of seriously malnourished people.
President marks second anniversary
ROC President Denis Sassou-Nguesso last Friday celebrated his second year in power, news agencies reported. To mark the occasion, he inaugurated a monument in memory of some 10,000 people killed during the civil war between June and October 1997.
Pro-Lissouba officers freed
Meanwhile, 12 senior officers and a high ranking magistrate, who were imprisoned for two years without trial for having backed deposed president Pascal Lissouba, were released in a public ceremony last Friday, news reports said. According to the justice ministry, the 12 will be reintegrated into the army. According to a humanitarian source, the releases are a "further positive sign of progress towards sustainable peace".
Mercenary enquiry called "frivolous"
A government representative on Thursday rejected the latest findings of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Use of Mercenaries, terming his enquiry "frivolous". The representative, Henri Blaise Gotienne, told a committee of the UN General Assembly that the report was "full of false allegations and incorrect information on his country", according to a UN press release. In his latest report, released last month, the rapporteur, Enrique Bernales Ballesteros, said the situation in the Republic of Congo had "steadily worsened after two years of armed conflicts". Civil resistance had been harshly put down by the government "to the point where the situation has given rise to reports of ethnic extermination in South Brazzaville, South Congo and the Pool region".
The presence of Angolan, Chadian and French mercenaries alongside government troops has been reported, as has the presence of mercenaries in the opposition forces, the rapporteur stated. He cited reports as saying that a "major European power" was behind the conflict "for reasons concerning its interest in controlling Congolese petroleum". Armed conflict in the Congo continued, giving rise to massive human rights violations, he added. However, Gotienne told the UN committee that violence in the Congo had been "eradicated" and political dialogue with the opposition had started.
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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