US ‘Deeply Concerned’ on Renewed Fighting in Congo

MONUSCO in an offensive position again to counter rebles!

As deadly clashes resumed between Congo’s army and M23 rebels, the United States of America today expressed deep concerned as hostilities escalated again in the estern part of the African country and called for restraint.

Reports say clashes resumed Friday between the army and rebels in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo which forced thousands of civilians to flee to neighbouring Rwanda.

Congo’s army reportedly attacked rebel positions early Friday and also claimed that they were attacked first amd just retaliated.

A dummy soldier sits by a road in a remote community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where Civilian Liaison Assistants (CLAs) work to create a link between the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and communities whose civilians MONUSCO seeks to protect from violence. UN PHOTO

US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki says the US is deeply troubled by reports that at least one round of shelling landed across the border in Rwanda.

She says the renewed fighting puts at risk the fragile peace negotiations in Kampala and risks undermining the concerted efforts earlier this week to reach a final agreement and peacefully resolve the conflict.

“We commend the actions of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to protect civilians and urgently call on all parties to exercise restraint to prevent military escalation of the conflict.” – Ms. Psaki

US urges M23 rebels for restraint

In addition, the US cslld on the M23 to commit to peacefully resolving the conflict by promptly signing a final agreement that provides for the disarmament and demobilization of the armed group.

US commends the good faith efforts of the DRC government to negotiate a principled agreement and continue to call on all signatories of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework to support such an agreement and to end all support to armed groups.

Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz (centre), newly appointed Force Commander of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), being shown MONUSCO positions at Munigi hill, overlooking the city of Goma. UN PHOTO

US reiterates that it continues to believe that the best way forward for the Great Lakes region is to conclude the Kampala Talks in a manner that does not grant amnesty to the worst offenders and to utilize the Framework peace process to focus on the root causes of the crisis in the DRC, including through expanded dialogue among signatory states.

MONUSCO still on the mission to counter rebel groups

In March, the UN Security Council in March approved the deployment of a special African force of up to some 3,000 troops, under MONUSCO command. The mission is led by a Tanzanian general. The mission is given an offensive mandate to target rebel groups in DR Congo.

In March this year, the UN Security Council also has unanimously approved the first-ever intervention UN peacekeeping brigade to fight rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Reports say the 3,000-strong UN brigade was mandated to carry out offensive operations to neutralize or disarm the rebels in the insurgent-hit part of the African country.

According to the UN, surveillance drones will be reportedly used to monitor the country’s borders with neighbours accused of backing rebels particularly Uganda and Rwanda.

M23 rebels and rebel groups from neighboring countries have taken over some parts in eastern Congo last year.

In November 2012, M23 rebels have taken over the provincial capital of Goma.

M23 rebels are notorious for human rights abuse

According to a UN, the M23 is now well equipped with heavy weapons, including 120mm mortars. Such weapons may have indiscriminate effects if used in densely populated areas.

The surge of rebel attack has reportedly displaced an estimated 500,000 people since the M23 rebels began bringing terror in April last year.

Since the M23 was created in April 2012, Amnesty International has documented numerous human rights abuses attributed to its fighters – including unlawful killings, forced recruitment of children and young adults, and rape.

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.