Médecins Sans Frontières criticises UN for inaction over LRA attacks in Congo

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United Nations peacekeepers in eastern Congo. Photograph: Jerome Delay/AP

by Annie Kelly, The Guardian, UK, Monday 16 February 2009 12.52 GMT

UN peacekeeping forces are standing by while hundreds of civilians are killed and abducted and scores of villages are burnt by Ugandan rebels, according to an international medical aid agency working in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has denounced the UN peacekeeping force (Monuc) for failing to protect the population against continuing violence by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

More than 50 villages and towns across north-eastern DRC have been attacked by the LRA since December.

MSF says civilians caught in the attacks have no protection and no access to humanitarian assistance, which is failing to reach conflict areas because of the continuing insecurity.

“The conclusion we’ve reached day in and day out on the ground is that the LRA is continuing its unspeakable violence against civilians,” Marc Poncin, MSF’s operational manager for DRC, told CISA NewsAfrica news agency.

MSF is calling on the UN to uphold security council resolution 1859, passed on 22 December 2008, which makes protection of civilians the priority for blue beret peacekeepers in DRC.

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