Congo flare-up displaces thousands of people

Rwanda has been accused of supporting the M23 militia.

© UNICEF/Guy Hubbard Peacekeepers escort a humanitarian convoy to the village of Pinga in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A flare-up of fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has displaced thousands of people, with some fleeing into Uganda, a UN spokesman said on Monday.

“Our colleagues in the DRC say that fighting over the weekend between the Congolese armed forces and the M23 (militia) in North Kivu has led to additional population displacement towards our peacekeeping base in Kiwanja,” said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Peacekeepers from the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, continued to provide logistical and medical support to the Congolese armed forces and maintained a robust posture to protect civilians, Dujarric said.

He estimated that in the past 11 days, about 50,000 people were displaced, including around 12,000 who sought safety in neighboring Uganda.

Dujarric said that following the call of civil society members in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, there were demonstrations Sunday and Monday at the border with Rwanda.

Rwanda has been accused of supporting the M23 militia.

“We also have news about the four peacekeepers injured last week near Kiwanja, during clashes between the M23 and Congolese forces,” said Dujarric.

He added that on Saturday, UN peacekeepers in Ituri province, to the north of Kivu, deployed a quick reaction force to Roe, a site hosting displaced people, following fighting between the Congolese armed forces and suspected members of the Zaire militia. While the attack prompted displaced people to seek refuge at the UN peacekeeping premises, there were no reports of injuries. ■

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