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Security Situation in Volatile Eastern DR Congo

Security Situation in Volatile Eastern DR Congo Remains Tense -- UN Mission

The United Nations peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said today that its forces in the volatile far east of the country remain on high alert, despite the relative calm in the region since this morning.

The security situation in both North Kivu and South Kivu provinces is still tense, according to a press release issued by the mission, which is known as MONUC.

Last night Congolese army troops and members of the rebel National Congress for the the People's Defence (CNDP) clashed in skirmishes near Kirotshe, which is about 35 kilometres south of Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital.

The area around Kirotshe has been the scene of fierce fighting this week between the Congolese army and the CNDP, and MONUC blue helmets have had to use armed force to protect civilians.

Today MONUC said it had observed that CNDP troops had continued to withdraw to their original positions before the start of the current flare-up of hostilities, on 28 August.

The mission is also devising a plan to separate the forces on the ground so that the disengagement phase of a January peace agreement between the two sides, known as the Acts d'engagement, can be implemented.

Yesterday the Security Council voiced its serious concern at the fighting in the Kivus, long the most volatile area of the DRC since the formal end of the long-running civil war several years ago.

ENDS

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