Civil society warns over "catastrophe" in Beni

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DRC: Civil society warns over "catastrophe" in Beni

NAIROBI, 14 June (IRIN) - Civil society groups in the far north of North Kivu province have issued an alert over the "catastrophic situation" there, particularly in the Lubero and Beni areas. In a statement received by IRIN on Thursday, the "Civil Society of the Far North" called on MONUC to deploy troops in the area. "These two areas have always been coveted by the numerous rebel factions, with the complicity of the Ugandan occupiers, because of the natural resources and customs and financial revenues," the statement said.

It accused the rebel groups of nonchalance towards the people, stating they only wanted to reap the riches of the area, hence the recent clashes in Beni between factions of the allied Front pour la liberation du Congo (FLC). "At a time when the Congolese people are placing confidence in the ceasefire supervised by the UN, we are very much afraid of a total conflagration in the two areas, home to about two million people," the statement warned. In a separate report, the civil society groups listed a whole series of incidents and killings in the region since March. "We believe the MONUC presence could curb the barbaric acts of the FLC army and its Ugandan allies, and put an end to the anarchy and arbitrariness reigning in the region which forms a basis for the proliferation of Mayi-Mayi militia," the statement said.

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