U.N. watching Congo violence closely

Sept. 23, 2010 at 2:02 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Violence in parts of the Congo is a growing concern for U.N. peacekeepers in the area, a U.N. special envoy said.

Roger Meece, the U.N. special envoy to the peacekeeping mission in the Congo, expressed concern over reports of killings in the province of North Kivu, the U.N. news agency reports.

The U.N. Security Council was called on to consider targeted sanctions against the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda and the Congolese Mai Mai militia for their role in the mass rape of hundreds of women in the region.

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

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.

The Security Council called on the Congolese government to make "swift and fair" efforts to bring the perpetrators of the rapes to justice.

The Rwandan rebel force, which is linked to the Rwandan genocide, denied it was involved in the rapes.

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