RAPAPORT… The UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) activated its contingency plan in the eastern part of the country to protect civilians following violent clashes between armed rebels. MONUSCO stepped up foot patrols and sent in military helicopters yesterday.
Combatants from four armed groups exchanged fire near its base in Pinga, North Kivu province, on Monday, according to MONUSCO. Three mortar bombs landed near the base.
This latest bout of violence came as Martin Kobler visited North Kivu for the first time as the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the country during which he pledged to do everything in his power to address the armed groups’ issue in the Kivus and in the rest of the eastern DRC.
During the past year, the Mouvement du 23-Mars (M23), along with other armed groups, have clashed repeatedly with national forces (FARDC) in the eastern DRC. The rebels briefly occupied Goma in November and then backed down, but fighting resumed again in recent weeks, this time involving a group of Ugandan-based rebels and they displaced more than 100,000 people. The eastern DRC already has an ongoing humanitarian crisis, which includes 2.6 million internally displaced people and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid, according to MONUSCO.