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Renewed Fighting In Eastern DR Congo Alarms Ban

Renewed Fighting In Eastern DR Congo Alarms Secretary-General

New York, Nov 6 2008 2:10PM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced deep concern at fresh fighting in the violence-wracked North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and urged all armed groups to get behind efforts to broker a political solution to the current crisis in the region.

Fighting broke out two days ago in the Rutshuru area between the National Congress in Defence of the People (known as the CNDP), a militia led by former general Laurent Nkunda, and a mixed group of Coalition of Patriots in the Congolese Resistance (PARECO)/Mayi-Mayi militia.

The CNDP has also reportedly attacked Congolese military positions in the Nyanzale area this morning, despite the ceasefire announced by the militia last week.

“The Secretary-General calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of forces to positions held prior to the resumption of fighting on 28 August,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement, referring to the start of the latest broad wave of violence that has displaced as many as 250,000 Congolese in the far east of the impoverished country.

The statement added that Mr. Ban “urges the armed groups involved in the ongoing fighting to support the current efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in the eastern DRC and to avoid activities that result in the further displacement and suffering of the civilian population.”

The Secretary-General is travelling today to Nairobi, Kenya, to attend a United Nations-backed high-level summit tomorrow aimed at ending the crisis.

He is scheduled to meet with DRC President Joseph Kabila and with Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, which borders North Kivu. The leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and South Africa are also slated to attend the summit, which is being hosted by the African Union.

ENDS

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