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DR Congo: UN Unable To Confirm Rwandan Incursions

UN Unable To Confirm Reports Of Rwandan Incursions Into Eastern DR Congo

New York, Oct 9 2008 3:10PM

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has not been able to confirm persistent reports of incursions by Rwandan troops into the eastern part of the vast country where they are said to be fighting alongside rebels.

The mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, called on the parties to reactivate their joint verification mechanism in North Kivu province, where the army and the rebel National Congress for People’s Defence (CNDP) of General Laurent Nkunda have been skirmishing in recent weeks.

MONUC is in close contact with the Government and the CNDP, and is urging both sides to return to their positions to avoid further clashes and to comply with a disengagement plan that the mission has presented to both parties, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York today.

“I want to make it clear that the Mission is operating under a Chapter VII mandate,” she said, referring to a clause that authorises UN forces to use force if necessary. “It has resorted to the use of force to protect civilians under threat from armed groups in eastern DRC and in response to threats to main access roads.”

In recent weeks MONUC peacekeepers backed by combat helicopters opened fire to prevent the CNDP from advancing in the direction of Goma, North Kivu’s capital.

Hostilities have continued in eastern DRC despite stabilization in much of the rest of the vast country, which was torn by years of civil war. Last week, the DRC called for UN peacekeepers to be given a clear mandate and the resources necessary to impose peace by force if necessary.

ENDS

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