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Over 2,300 Ninjas surrender in recent days
President vows to ratify Convention Against Torture, ICC
Rapports sur les relations éthniques / Reports on Ethnic Relations

The following section is consisted of part, full or summaries of articles from diverses sources (newspapers, newsletters, etc...).
La section suivante est constituée d'exraits, de la totalité ou de résumés d'articles provenant d'origines diverses (journaux,bulletins, etc..).


04 / 29 / 2003 

IRIN

The Article: "Over 2,300 Ninjas surrender in recent days"

At least 2,300 rebel Ninja soldiers have surrendered with their weapons in recent days in the Pool Region of the Republic of Congo, according to the communications department of the Congolese Armed Forces (Forces armees congolaises).

This followed a peace agreement reached on 17 March between the government in Brazzaville and the Ninja leader, the Rev Frederic Bitsangou, alias Pasteur Ntoumi, the military said.

On Monday, 812 rebels handed their weapons over to military authorities in Missafou, a small town on the Congo-ocean railway, some 110 km southwest of the capital, Brazzaville. Last week, between Wednesday and Friday, at least 1,500 rebels also surrendered in the town of Mindouli, some 200 km from Brazzaville.

Speaking during a ceremony to welcome the ex-combatants, Commerce Minister Adelaide Moundele-Ngollo - originally from Pool - congratulated the former rebels for "choosing the path of peace". She played a key role in negotiating a cessation of hostilities with the Ninjas. She said the peace process was now "irreversible" and that the government's treatment of the demobilised fighters was a sign of good faith on the part of authorities, which should encourage remaining Ninjas to disarm.

A Ntoumi associate, Bernard Misiki, said the demobilised soldiers sought nothing more than "the socioeconomic reintegration promised by the government". He pledged that even greater numbers of Ninja combatants would emerge from their positions in the forests of the Pool Region in the coming days.

The disarmed Ninjas, who have been guaranteed amnesty by the government, are now awaiting either integration into the military or reinsertion into civilian life through micro-credit projects run by the government with the support of international donors. Former rebels are also to be included in a special committee to be formed to establish peace in Pool.

Conflict erupted in Pool between government forces and Ninja rebels loyal to Ntoumi in late March 2002. Tens of thousands of people fled the region, while fighting trapped many more. Those who escaped were usually able to receive relief support, but humanitarian access to the vast majority left behind in Pool has been sporadic if not impossible.

04 / 28 / 2003 

IRIN

The Article: "President vows to ratify Convention Against Torture, ICC"

Republic of Congo (ROC) President Denis Sassou-Nguesso vowed on Friday that his government would ratify both the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Rome statute that would lead to Congo's membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"I solemnly announce that the Congolese government is hereby beginning to do everything necessary for the ratification of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment," as well as for Congo's entry as a member state of the ICC, he said in the capital, Brazzaville, during the opening of a conference on government bodies charged with protecting human rights.

The Brazzaville meeting was held for the government to exchange ideas with national human rights NGOs and committees in an effort to improve collaboration with governmental human rights bodies.

According to Sassou-Nguesso, the promotion and protection of human rights is among the top priorities of his government. "The creation of a ministerial department for this purpose is an illustration of this," he said.

Sassou-Nguesso also said that a culture of peace was an indispensable element of human rights. "Human rights and fundamental liberties can only flourish in a climate of peace, stability, and a favourable economic environment."

In recent weeks, progress has been made toward the cessation of hostilities between government forces and rebel Ninja militias in the Pool Region of ROC, most notably with the signing of an agreement on 17 March to bring peace to the region, where fighting erupted in late March 2002.

In a recent report, human rights NGO Amnesty International expressed concern that Congolese authorities had failed to establish responsibility for past human rights violations and bring those responsible to justice.

>>>> The Complete Amnesty Report

04 / 25 / 2003 

IRIN

L'article: "La Commission européenne alloue 801 980 dollars pour la réinsertion des rebelles ''Ninja''"

La Commission européenne (CE) a annoncé mardi qu'elle accordait 731 000 euros (801 980 dollars des I.-U.) pour soutenir la démobilisation et la réinsertion des anciens rebelles "Ninja" dans la région de Pool, en République du Congo.

Dans un communiqué, la CE précise que sa contribution financière, injectée via le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD), facilitera le retour des ex-combattants dans leurs villages par la création, à leur intention, d'activités génératrices de revenus durant une période de six mois.

Le communiqué ajoute que d'autres projets financés par la CE suivront, principalement dans le cadre d'un programme régional déjà existant de désarmement et de réinsertion.

Le gouvernement congolais et les rebelles "Ninja" ont signé le 17 mars un accord mettant fin aux combats dans la région de Pool. Les hostilités ont éclaté en mars 2002, malgré les accords de paix signés en 1999, des accords pourtant conçus pour sortir le pays du cercle vicieux des guerres civiles qui l'avaient affligé durant les années 1990.

La CE souligne que l'accord du 17 mars pourrait ancrer un avenir plus pacifique dans le pays. Elle signale toutefois que la situation politique et militaire y demeure précaire et qu'un programme cohérent de réinsertion d'un millier anciens rebelles "Ninja" constitue un élément essentiel pour parvenir à une stabilité à long terme. Le communiqué ajoute que le grand nombre de miliciens mobilisés et l'abondance des armes légères dans la région représentent une grave menace à la stabilité.

La CE rappelle que de grandes zones ont été dévastées et que les récents combats entre forces gouvernementales et rebelles "Ninjas" ont fait 90 000 déplacés parmi les habitants, alors que la population totale de la région de Pool s'élève à 200 000 personnes.


04 / 24 / 2003
 

IRIN

The Article: "Beijing assists return of displaced to Pool region"

The People's Repuiblic of China has given 15 million Congolese francs (US $26,016) to assist the return of displaced people to their homes in the crisis-torn Pool region of the Republic of Congo (ROC).

ROC Social Affairs Minister Emilienne Raoul told IRIN on Wednesday the Chinese contribution was in response to a government appeal to help for around 77,000 people who fled fighting in Pool for Brazzaville and other neighbouring districts.

The government and "Ninja" rebels signed an agreement on 17 March to restore peace to Pool.

Since hostilities broke out in Pool in March 2002, much of the region has been devastated. An estimated 90,000 of the region's 200,000 population have been displaced.

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