During the long cease fire in the still ongoing Alcovian Civil War there have been increasing pressures from outside governments to allow foreign observers into the country.
The stated goal has always been to allow the international community the opportunity to guarantee there are no human rights violations and that both sides of the conflict are conducting themselves within the boundaries of legal warfare practices under international law and treaty. This, however, has never seemed enough for the Alcovian government which has claimed the sanctity of sovereignty at every turn.
The change in position of the government seems to have been a direct result of increased claims, by the rebel leadership, of criminal activities committed by national forces in rebel controlled territories. Alcovian leadership decided to challenge these claims the best way they could and petition the U.N. for an inspection of these regions in Eastern Alcovia. U.N. officials agreed and have sent several teams of inspectors of a non-military nature and without U.N. -provided escorts.
During their inspection tour, U.N. representatives have taken numerous opportunities to speak with local commanders, government representatives and civilian authorities in an attempt to raise a "presence of peace" among those involved in and affected by the Alcovian Civil War. While these off the record discussions have been looked upon with suspicion, no direct action has been taken to prevent them. One U.N. team member was quoted as saying, "It would seem that Alcovians are interested in peace, even if they are not ready to lay down their weapons."
While most of the inspection has been routine with little to report in the way of the proposed violations, a team visiting the city of Ubecha - along the Borka river - was treated to the grizzly display of a collection of severed limbs (shown here wrapped up after collection). Local ethnic Iqenis claim that these are the grim results of a recent terror raid conducted by Royal Special Forces that specifically targeted civilians of that particular ethnicity. They cited several such raids conducted during hostilities in the 1970s as support for these claims, however there remains no concrete evidence to support these accusations.
The U.N. plans to continue inspections for the remainder of the year, having been given an exit date of January 1, 2013.