DR Congo sends commandos to quell unrest

9th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Kinshasa has sent a battalion of 600 commandos trained by Belgium to the northwest of the country to try to quell violence in the country's northwest, according to sources.

MBANDAKA - The unit was dispatched to the region to support 500 regular soldiers and 1,000 police officers already in place.

The forces hope to put an end to inter-ethnic violence that erupted on October 29 and 30 in the Dongo area, on the banks of the Oubangi river that separates DR Congo from Congo-Brazzaville.

At least 100 have been killed in the clashes -- shot, hacked down with machetes or drowned while trying to cross the Oubangi.

The UN's High Commissioner for Refugees said on December 1 that more than 92,000 people have fled the violence, with 38,000 displaced within the country and 54,000 taking refuge in neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville.

The commando unit was trained under a defence accord between DR Congo and Belgium, the country's former colonial ruler.

The UN's mission in DR Congo is to send 120 police officers to support security operations in the area.

Clashes broke out between the Lobala, or Enyele, people and the Bamboma, or Boba, people, over disputed fishing rights.


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