Signatories to the United Nations-backed January pact between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and armed groups aimed at bringing peace to the country’s troubled east today expressed grave concern over the recent flare-up of hostilities in North and South Kivu.
In a communiqué, members of the International Facilitation – comprising Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the DRC, as well as officials from the African Union (AU), the Great Lakes Conference, the European Union (EU) and the United States – stressed their commitment to ending fighting in eastern DRC and the Great Lakes region.
They also voiced their support of the DRC’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and legitimate institutions.
“The International Facilitation calls on all signatories to scrupulously respect the provisions of the Actes d’engagement, in particular the immediate cessation of hostilities and their involvement in the restoration of State authority in all areas of the Provinces of North and South Kivu,” according to the communiqué.
The group also spoke out against violations of ceasefires, calling on the group known as the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) to immediately halt its military activities in areas it has recently occupied.
It also demanded that, in the spirit of the January pact, all forces withdraw from positions occupied after 28 August and to halt all new troop movements, excepting those in concert with the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MONUC, against the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR).
MONUC forces took action in several areas of North and South Kivu today to hold back armed groups and protect civilians caught in their crossfire.
Blue helmets acted to prevent CNDP troops from taking Kirotshe, 20 kilometres from the North Kivu provincial capital Goma. Backed by combat helicopters, they also placed themselves between the CNDP and Mayi-Mayi Cobra to prevent them from reaching Kirotshe.
Also in that province, intense negotiations took place to end fighting between Government and CNDP forces near Kikuku, while MONUC also helped keep civilians in that town and nearby Nyanzale safe.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring South Kivu, MONUC acted to prevent the locality of Minova from being taken over by the CNDP.