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Reports: UN Peacekeepers in Congo Traded Gold, Weapons with Militias


British media reports say U.N. peacekeeping troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo traded gold and weapons with militias they were supposed to help disarm.

The BBC and London's Guardian newspaper Wednesday reported the findings of a U.N. investigation they say was conducted last year, but kept from the public.

The BBC quotes witnesses who say Pakistani troops assigned to the U.N. mission received gold from two militia leaders known as Kung Fu and Dragon. It says other witnesses reported hearing conversations in which U.N. officers spoke of Pakistani troops giving weapons to the militias.

The transactions are said to have taken place in 2005 around the northeastern mining town of Mongbwalu.

There has been no comment from the U.N. mission in Congo on the reports.

The Associated Press quotes a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying Pakistani authorities will look into the matter.

The Guardian says the officers incriminated in the U.N. report have completed their tours of duty and have returned to Pakistan.

The United Nations has about 17,000 peacekeepers in Congo, the world body's largest peacekeeping force anywhere in the world.

Congo is attempting to recover from a five-year civil war that killed about 4 million people, mostly from hunger and disease. Militia groups have been a continuing problem, especially in the country's restive east.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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