In a bid to facilitate the delivery of relief aid, United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set up a temporary buffer zone in the country's troubled east, where recent factional fighting threatened to exacerbate an already grim humanitarian situation.
The UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is establishing the temporary buffer zone in the area of Kanyabayonga, in North Kivu. Tens of thousands of civilians fled fighting there before tensions reportedly eased earlier this week.
The clashes between government troops and mutinous elements of the DRC Army's 8th Military Region forced the evacuation of entire villages near Kanyabayonga.
The 10-kilometre buffer area aims to keep regular soldiers separated from the breakaway unit, facilitating an end to fighting and allowing aid to reach displaced civilians. MONUC says any attempt at crossing the buffer zone will be repulsed immediately.