afrol News, 4 June - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday protested against "acts of harassment" by the rebel group Rally for Congolese Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma), based in eastern Congo Kinshasa. Today, the Security Council condemned the rebels. RDC-Goma had expelled UN peacekeepers from areas under its control.
Annan voiced his support for the UN Organisation Mission in Congo Kinshasa (MONUC peacekeepers) and his top envoy to the country. A spokesperson for Annan said in New York that the Secretary-General "strongly deplores" the recent public attacks against MONUC, in particular attempts by RCD-Goma to "ban" his Special Representative, Amos Namanga Ngongi.
The UN Security Council demanded an "immediate end to the harassment" of UN officials and "full cooperation with an investigation" into recent events in Kisangani. On 14 May, killings of several civilians had taken place in Kisangani by an unknown group.
The Secretary-General yesterday decried the "expulsions" of several MONUC personnel from areas under control of the RCD-Goma, as well as the physical intimidation of Mission personnel, spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.
Okabe said the Secretary-General "trusts that the international community will remain fully supportive of the courageous UN staff operating in the country, in particular Mr. Ngongi, who enjoys his full confidence."
- The RCD-Goma leadership should put an end to these unjustifiable attacks and realize that it is in its own interest, and indeed in that of the people of Congo Kinshasa, to cease harassment of UN officials, cooperate fully in investigations of recent events in Kisangani, and help move the peace process forward, she added.
The Security Council condemned recent attacks by RDC-Goma against MONUC and particularly "condemned the attempts by RCD-Goma to undermine the representatives of the United Nations and their constructive role," according to a release from the Council today.
On Sunday, MONUC recalled two of its staff members from Goma, saying the decision to bring them back to Kinshasa was taken for their own protection following an "expulsion" order issued by RCD officials Saturday in Goma.
In a statement released on Monday, the UN Mission strongly denied any wrongdoing by the two and strongly protested the intimidation tactics used by the RCD-Goma, which included deploying troops around the residence of the UN personnel.
MONUC is assisting in the full demilitarisation of war-ravaged eastern Congo. The UN mission is to be reinforced by a civilian police unit of 85 officers to help in the training of local police.
Sources: Based on UN sources and afrol archives