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Mixing process underway in North Kivu

MONUC - February 15, 2007 11:27 AM

Cong soldiers in Ituri - North Kivu The mixing process of two of dissident General Laurent Nkunda’s loyalist brigades with three FARDC brigades has been ongoing now since the start of 2007, in a bid to address the serious security problems posed by Nkunda’s forces in the troubled Kivu provinces since 2004.

In this respect, the FARDC's (Congolese National Army) representatives held fruitful talks with the belligerent Nkunda and his aides in Dec 2006 in Kigali.

The talks, brokered by the Rwandan government, also enjoyed the support of the highest authorities in Kinshasa. After serious deliberations, both sides decided to reintegrate the brigades (rebel brigades of Nkunda and the FARDC brigades) by mixing and renaming them under new a new structure, in a process called mixing.

In essence, the mixing process aims at equally combining Laurent Nkunda’s 81st and 83rd brigades, and the rest of the combatants, with the FARDC’s 110th and116th Brigades, as well as the 1st Reserve brigade.

An estimated 4,500 to 5,000 of Nkunda troops, according to Nkunda's figures, are due to be combined with a similar number of FARDC troops. The new names for the five brigades after the mixing process are Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and Echo, and they are to be deployed across North Kivu province.

So far Alpha and Bravo brigades are under deployment after the mixing process, while the formation of Charlie brigade has just finished. In spite of some difficulties, the mixing process is likely to continue with the formation of the Delta and Echo brigades.

MONUC’s North Kivu brigade, under its UN mandate, is providing support to the ongoing mixing process by assisting the FARDC towards the establishment of peace and security in the province, according to Major Ajay Dalal, the MONUC North Kivu brigade spokesperson.

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