August 22, 2006

Kabila, Bemba factions agree Congo truce: UN sources

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Soldiers loyal to Congolese President
Joseph Kabila and fighters backing his election rival
Jean-Pierre Bemba agreed on Tuesday to end days of gunbattles
in the capital Kinshasa, U.N. sources said.

"They have both agreed to retreat to original positions and
then continue talks. We are waiting to see if they take it
seriously or not," one U.N. source said after the world body
hosted a meeting between the rivals' armed followers.

Rocket and small arms fire earlier shook Kinshasa for a
third day after Sunday's announcement that Democratic Republic
of Congo's July 30 polls were inconclusive and Kabila would
face a run-off vote against Bemba.

Since the announcement, heavily armed members of Kabila's
presidential guard have repeatedly clashed with soldiers loyal
to Bemba, formerly head of the rebel MLC faction, now a
political party which commands strong support in Kinshasa.

"Following the meeting at the U.N., MONUC (the U.N.
peacekeeping mission) are doing joint patrols with the
presidential guard and MLC soldiers," a separate U.N. military
source said.

"They are driving around to find out where the troops are
and telling soldiers on all sides to go home," the source said.