Chief of troubled UN mission in DR of Congo will finish pressing

Mr. Swing, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Great Lakes country, briefed Mr. Annan on the mission’s actions to eradicate sexual exploitation by peacekeepers and the extensive leadership changes under way, Mr. Annan’s spokesman, Fred Eckhard, said in a statement. They also discussed Mr. Swing’s own future, he added.”The Secretary-General noted that Mr. Swing evidently had his hands full across all these fronts and would need to show strong leadership in all these areas and, in particular, should try and help the DRC move the political process forward as rapidly as possible,” the statement said.”They concluded that with his plate so full, this was not the moment for a sudden change of [Special Representative] with the disruption that it would cause.”Mr. Annan said he had confidence that Mr. Swing would work through his urgent agenda, but that when things had stabilized, the Secretary-General “would initiate an orderly transition” to a new Special Representative.In the DRC, meanwhile, the UN Organization Mission (MONUC) called on that country’s Government to confine the militia leaders that had been arrested in the eastern region, saying the detainees had been put under house arrest and appeared able to move about and communicate freely, Mr. Eckhard told the daily briefing in New York earlier Friday.After the deaths of nine UN peacekeepers and some 50 militia members over the past week, the situation in Ituri district was relatively calm, he quoted MONUC as saying.MONUC expressed concern, however, that although the National Transitional Government said it had arrested several of the people named in the Security Council’s presidential statement on Wednesday, “these persons have been put under house arrest. Some even appear to move about freely and to retain means of communication,” the spokesman said.In a statement read at a formal meeting by this month’s Council President, Brazilian Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg, the 15-member body identified the perpetrators of last Friday’s ambush and murders of the UN peacekeepers as members of the Nationalist Integrationist Front (FNI).The Council blamed such leaders as FNI president Floribert Ndjabu and former FNI force commander Goda Supka, who were said to have been arrested along with Germain Katanga of the Forces of Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI).”The Mission is calling on the Government to truly arrest these people and bring them to justice, Mr. Eckhard said.Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the renewed fighting and the killing of the UN peacekeepers had caused the withdrawal of UN staff members from much of the eastern DRC, cutting vital humanitarian aid to an estimated 54,000 displaced civilians, more than two-thirds of whom were women and children.”These people sought sanctuary with the UN from the fighting. First forced to flee their homes, we’ve now been forced to abandon them because we can’t be sure that our own staff won’t be killed,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said from London.

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