The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has strongly condemned the recent fighting between the Congolese army and rebels in the country's east, stressing that it goes against the ceasefire signed earlier this year.
The clashes that broke out in North Kivu in the early hours of 28 August between the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) and the National Congress for People's Defense, known by its French acronym CNDP, was the first major incident since a peace agreement was signed between the parties in January.
Alan Doss, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC), condemned the fighting “in the strongest terms,” stressing that any military action by the signatories of the Actes d'engagement reached in January constitutes a violation of the ceasefire.
“MONUC calls on the parties to exercise restraint, return to their original positions and avoid any action that could lead to a further escalation of violence,” the mission said in a statement.
The mission has dispatched patrols to the area and has been in touch with officials on both sides since the incident.
Meanwhile, officials from the UN, European Union and Rwanda met on Wednesday in Kigali in preparation for a meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group – through which DRC and Rwanda review efforts to tackle threats to peace and stability in their region, as agreed in a communiqué issued last November.
They discussed a number of issues, including disarmament and repatriation of the DRC-based armed group FDLR (Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda), ahead of the meeting which will take place on Monday in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.