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Latest on D.R. Congo conflict

07-09-2012 05:37 BJT

Turning to the armed conflict in eastern DRC, rebels, known as M23, have taken control over three more towns. Latest reports say they took Rutshuru, Ntamugenga and Rubare, less than 10 kilometres from the provincial capital of Goma. The M23 soldiers had already repulsed loyalist troops and taken control of Bunagana town, on the border with Uganda.

Over 600 Congolese soldiers have fled into Uganda, following clashes with the renegade M23 rebels group, who have seized the Bunagana border town, a strategic trade point between Uganda and the DRC. The eastern provinces of North and South Kivu in DRC have witnessed increased fighting between government troops and the M23 troops, which is composed of renegade soldiers who mutinied in April and are led by Bosco Ntaganda. On Thursday, Congolese forces launched an offensive to rout the rebels near the Virunga National Park,home to one of the biggest populations of mountain gorillas. But the M23soldiers repulsed loyalist forces and took control of Bunagana town.

Vianney Kazarama, Spokesperson of M23 Rebels, said, "We want a good government in the democratic republic of Congo and we also want thegovernment to give us ranks but it doesn't want to, and now three years have passedand the government has not complied so we defected to see if the governmentwill do so but they did not, and now the attack us every day and bring weaponslike this one's you see here" The fleeing troops surrended their weapons to the Ugandan military and arecurrently been offered protection and medical care by the Uganda army in Kisorotown 15 km from the Bunagana border.

Peterer Weru, Second Division Operations Officer, said, "We have over five hundred of them and they are healthy and okay apart from a few who had been injured and are been treated in our hospital. Those who were seriously injured are nine and they are being taken care of."

A UN peacekeeper from was killed in the Thursday clashes, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday said he deeply regretted the death of a United Nations peacekeeper killed in the armed clash. The secretary-general also expressed his serious concern about the situation in eastern DRC, and called for an immediate end to all violence perpetrated by armed groups. A recent UN report has accused Rwanda of backing the rebels - Gen Ntaganda also Known as "the Terminator", is an ethnic Tutsi, like the majority of Rwanda’s leadership. But Rwanda has denied the accusations. The Congolese army remains optimistic that they will capture the "terminator “and hand him over to The Hague.

Ruchumu Elias, Commander, DRC Army, 42 Battalion, said, "When we catch him we will take him to The Hague and that is thewill of president Kabila. So when he heard that he decided to run." According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at least 5,000 DRCrefugees, mainly from the area around DRC's North Kivu Province, have crossedinto Uganda fleeing the resent fighting.

With the M23 soldier in Bunagana town tension remains high. As residentsand the renegade soldier wait for some form of retaliation from the Congolese army.


Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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