Armed Mutiny in Congo Draws Condemnation

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With the recent armed mutiny raging the eartern part of Congo, the Security Council today expressed strong condemnation of the mutiny by renegade soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well as the killing and abuse of civilians, mostly women and children.

Reports say fighting between government troops and renegade fighters has escalated following the mutiny by soldiers led by Bosco Ntaganda and Sultani Makenga in April, particularly in eastern provinces of North and South Kivu.

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Indian peacekeepers with the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), deployed to the country’s North Kivu Province, stand guard over Bunagana and the rebel stronghold of Runyonyi, as fighting continues between the M23 splinter group and Government FARDC forces.

UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

The fighting has reportedly displaced more than 100,000 people, including many who have fled to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.

The Members of the Security Council expressed strong concern about the recent developments in the Kivus and the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation resulting in significant flows of displaced persons and refugees

The 15-member body strongly condemned the mutiny of officers and soldiers, formerly integrated into the DRC armed forces (known by the French acronym FARDC) and now operating in North Kivu as an armed group under the name M23.

The Council called on all countries in the region to actively cooperate with the Congolese authorities in demobilizing the M23 and all other armed groups.

In addition, the Council strongly condemned the killing and abuse of civilians by armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.

The Council members expressed appreciation for the quick response both from the DRC Government and the peacekeeping operation known as the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to these serious attacks against the civilians.

Earlier this week, armed mutiny has worsened the security situation and massive displacement of civilians in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to UN official.

Reports say that the armed mutiny that erupted in April has destabilized the Kivus and the region and increases the general threat to millions of civilians.

A senior United Nations official today stressed to the Security Council the need to end the mutiny as soon as possible for multiple of reasons.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO), Roger Meece noted end of mutiny would permit the return home of large numbers of displaced civilians, resumption of coordinated efforts targeting armed groups in area, and the resumption of stabilization and economic development programmes.

He noted that the Mission’s resources have been stretched to the limits attempting to cover developing hot spots, and the overall situation in North Kivu has been deteriorating.

Earlier this month, the United States of America expressed alarm and concern on the continued mutiny of officers and soldiers formerly integrated into the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Reports say the mutineers, known as the March 23 movement, are former Congolese Tutsi rebels who joined the army under a March 2009 peace deal but defected earlier this year.

The United States also reiterated its support for the international community’s comprehensive approach to disarming and demobilizing the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a violent armed group responsible for atrocities against civilians in the DRC’s eastern provinces and whose leaders participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The United States encourages the DRC, its neighbors, and its partners to work together to prevent M23, the FDLR, and all other armed groups from receiving outside support in contravention of the UN Security Council’s arms embargo on non-governmental entities and individuals operating in the DRC.

On May this year, fighting has resumed in eastern DRC in recent weeks between Government forces, dissident groups and militia, causing new inflows of refugees enter Rwanda and Uganda.

Reports say 30,000 refugees have arrived in Uganda this month. In addition, Uganda was already host to 175,127 refugees, including 97,424 from DRC.

There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011.

A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. An estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.