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Thousands displaced as fighting intensifies in eastern DR Congo

Thousands displaced as fighting intensifies in eastern DR Congo
More than 10,000 residents displaced following clashes in North Kivu since Tuesday, says UN

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Fighting between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FADC) and March 23 Movement (M23) rebels intensified Wednesday in eastern​​​​​​​ North Kivu province, displacing thousands of residents, according to the military.

Several FADC positions came under attack by M23 rebels, Col. Ndjike Kaiko, army spokesman in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, told reporters.

Last week’s fighting that erupted between government forces and M23 fighters continued Wednesday in Rutshuru and Kibumba in Nyiragongo territory, according to the army.

The FARDC were “attacked on several fronts by the M23 and its allies from 4 a.m. local time,” said Kaiko.

The situation has been stabilized in the zones of Chanzu, Runyonyi, and the surrounding area except in Kibumba, where the FARDC offensive continues to repel the rebels, he added.

The M23 rebels reportedly occupied Kibumba, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Goma and cut off the road linking Goma and Bunagana -- a Congolese border town with Uganda.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that more than 10,000 people had been displaced following the fighting in Kibumba, about 20 kilometers from Goma.

Since March, the security situation has been tense in Rutshuru territory leading to a humanitarian crisis after aid workers suspended some humanitarian activities because of insecurity.

On Tuesday, Bintou Keita, the head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) accused M23 rebels of deliberately targeting their base in the Shangi area of North Kivu early Sunday, hours after attacking government forces.

source: News Feed
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