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U.N. forces claim progress in Congo

Sept. 16, 2010 at 1:17 PM

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Perpetrators of human rights violations in the Congo were arrested during enhanced security operations, the U.N. mission there announced.

The U.N. Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or MONUSCO, launched Operation Shop Window two weeks ago to ramp up security in border regions were hundreds of women and children were gang-raped by rebel forces.

The mission said that scores of rebels were detained and many of the internally displaced people are returning to their homes as a result of the around-the-clock operations.

Peacekeepers with the force said rebel groups are coming to understand that MONUSCO fighters are well-equipped and willing to respond to attacks on civilians.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the area, the largest deployed in the world, deflected criticism that it ignored warnings that surfaced days before the rapes occurred some 20 miles from their base.

Atul Khare, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told the U.N. Security Council in August that his investigation found that while the safety of citizens is the responsibility of the host nation, failures could be traced to MONUSCO.

He said the Security Council should consider targeted sanctions against the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and the Congolese Mai Mai militia for their role in the attacks. The Rwandan rebel force, which is linked to the Rwandan genocide, denied it was involved in the gang rapes.

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