200 MONUC troops arrive in Ituri District

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) announced that 200 of its military observers would deploy to the northeastern town of Bunia on Wednesday. "This group will be increased and the deployment will be followed up in the next few weeks to cover other localities in Ituri," the mission reported. The troops will reinforce MONUC's civilian and military presence in Bunia, the main town in the troubled district of Ituri. MONUC said that the increased troop presence in Bunia should boost the work of the Ituri Pacification Commission, set up on 4 April to bring peace to the district after four years of civil war. MONUC's deployment comes a day ahead of the Uganda army's planned withdrawal from Ituri. Uganda has repeatedly called for the deployment of international troops in Ituri to prevent a collapse of authority when its troops depart.