Congo Watch: UN to replace Congo mission head

Saturday, March 05, 2005

UN to replace Congo mission head

Thousands of people have fled ethnic violence in Ituri. The following is a copy of a BBC report, 5 March, 2005:

The head of the UN mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo is to leave his post. Top envoy William Lacy Swing will be replaced by a new special representative later in the year.

The UN mission in DR Congo has faced criticism after allegations that UN peacekeepers sexually exploited refugees in their care. UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Mr Swing would remain in the job for the time being to allow for a smooth transition.

Violence has flared in the turbulent north-eastern Ituri region of DR Congo, where the UN has one of its largest missions, with more than 13,000 troops.

In late February, nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers died when they were ambushed whilst on patrol in the area and, on Tuesday, 50 militiamen were killed during a UN operation against the militia in the same area.

"The secretary general noted that Mr Swing evidently had his hands full across all these fronts and would need to show strong leadership in all these areas," Mr Eckhard said.

"They concluded that with his plate so full, this was not the moment for a sudden change of special representative," he added.

Last month, a UN team investigated 72 allegations of abuse by UN peacekeepers and civilian staff. According to its report, published in January, 26 of these claims were substantiated and included cases of girls as young as 12 being given small sums of money or food items in exchange for sex with soldiers based around the north-eastern town of Bunia.

In response, the UN introduced a strict non-fraternisation policy, banning its peacekeepers from having sex with local people. Six Moroccan soldiers were also arrested following the investigation.


Blogger Louis said...

Hi there... a fellow Congo-watcher here, who fell in love with the country during a visit to Goma last year. Cheers... came here through

Sunday, March 06, 2005  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Hello Louis, nice to meet you. Thanks for saying hi. It never occurred to me that anyone reads this blog. I have used it as a filing cabinet for my notes and news clippings on the Congo. One of my regular blogs is Sudan Watch. I have enjoyed reading your posts. You write really well with a great sense of humour too. Here's looking forward to catching up on your archives. Through your comment I found Carine and TheMalau and was surprised to find they had blogrolled Congo Watch. Now that there are some visitors here I ought to do some tidying up and pay some attention to the sidebar. I shall put you Congo Watchers in my sidebar as soon as I get a chance. Bye for now, and thank you again. Good luck with your work. I have put your blog in my newsfeed so I know when you next post.

Monday, March 07, 2005  

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