Tension in Ituri: An Update on the Democratic Republic of the Congo

"Although the withdrawal of foreign forces from the DRC and more specifically the Ituri province are unquestionably pre-requisites for the observance of the cease-fire, the power vacuum that may ensue must be avoided. The establishment of an acceptable neutral force, focused on establishing civilian authority at local (Ituri) and provincial (Oriental Province) levels, is critical in this regard. In addition, the capacities of MONUC have to be strengthened so as to enable the effective disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants as well as to monitor border security between Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. In addition, only a strengthened MONUC will have the means to pacify and police the region of Ituri. This will depend on whether MONUC will have a revised mandate and concept of operations, which will allow it (if necessary) to use force and disarm ethnic militias in the Province of Ituri."