Fighting continues to rage in the North Kivu province of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between Government forces and rebels, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the country reported today as it stepped up efforts to stabilize the volatile region.
A reinforced platoon of 40 Indian police officers was deployed today in Goma, the provincial capital, to help support Congolese national police in that city, the UN mission – known as MONUC – said in its latest update on the situation in North Kivu.
The police officers with MONUC will train their local counterparts and help maintain and restore public order by conducting joint patrols and interventions, according to the update.
The new efforts come amid fighting between Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and the rebel National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) in recent weeks, leading to some of the worst violence and civilian suffering in more than a year.
The mission has made repeated calls for an immediate ceasefire and a return to the Actes d’engagement, the January accord that was supposed to end hostilities.
MONUC peacekeepers have now been increased in Ntamugenga and Mutabo to ensure the safety of civilians in those areas, while blue helmets arre acting as intermediaries between the warring parties in Katsiru, Nyanzale and Tongo.
In Nyanzale, about 80 kilometres from Goma, major troop movements have been observed on both sides of the conflict, according to the mission. But the town of Kabizo has been occupied by FARDC since last night.