United Nations peacekeepers today stepped up their efforts to prevent a militia operating in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from taking a key town in North Kivu province, the scene of renewed deadly fighting between Government forces and rebels.
Blue helmets fired warning shots this morning to armed militiamen from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) in the vicinity of the town of Nyanzale, according to a press release from the UN mission to the DRC, known as MONUC.
The warning shots were aimed at preventing further movements of CNDP elements in the Rutshuru area, especially in the town of Kikuku, MONUC reported. This area is about 65 kilometres north of Goma, the provincial capital.
On Saturday, CNDP troops retreated from their positions in Nyanzale – which had been previously occupied by the Congolese army (known as FARDC) – after MONUC exerted a strong military presence in the area and demanded the militia withdraw.
MONUC said the advance on Nyanzale by CNDP forces was a flagrant breach of the Acts of Engagement of Goma, of which the militia was a signatory in January.
Noting the fragile security situation in North Kivu, the mission urged all signatories to the Goma deal to return immediately to the process of disengagement from fighting. The province has recently endured some of the worst violence in nearly a year.