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UN humanitarian chief touring eastern Congo

world Updated: Feb 08, 2009 03:05 IST

The top UN diplomat for humanitarian affairs is touring the world's worst ongoing crisis, in eastern Congo, amid an outcry from aid workers who accuse peacekeepers of failing to protect the 900 civilians killed since Christmas. John Holmes will meet with victims of the latest violence to convulse this battle-scarred Central African nation, and the agencies struggling to help them.

Holmes on Saturday begins a four-day tour including villages destroyed by Ugandan rebels and areas where Rwandan troops are fighting perpetrators of their country's 1994 genocide. Holmes will face criticism about why the killings, rapes and looting persist despite 17,000 peacekeepers.

Some 100 aid and human rights organizations are calling on Holmes to insist the peacekeepers use force to protect ordinary people.