24 July 2003 The United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has condemned the recent massacre of 22 people, including women and children, in the strife-torn northeast of the country as “unspeakable acts of savagery” and said their perpetrators would be brought to justice.
MONUC has sent a reconnaissance mission to assess the situation at the massacre site in Nizi, 40 kilometres north of Bunia, the main town in the mineral-rich Ituri region, where hundreds of people have been killed in recent months in a surge of fighting between rival ethnic militias.
“We do not understand the reason for such unspeakable acts of savagery,” MONUC spokesman Hamadoun Touré said. “They will not go unpunished.”
Preparations are continuing for the deployment of UN Task Force 2 in Ituri with the arrival in Bunia of Bangladeshi troops, part of a projected 3,800-strong contingent that will take over from the French-led Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF), which was rushed to the region in June on a three-month mission to help quell the violence.
Mr. Touré said companies of military engineers from Indonesia and Nepal, Pakistani soldiers and a Ghanaian medical unit were also expected in Bunia.
“That shows that the situation is positively moving towards the hand over of command between the multinational force and MONUC troops before 1 September,” he added.