DR Congo + 1 more

DR Congo: North Kivu - Exodus of civilians continues, Kinshasa blames Rwanda

News and Press Release
Originally published
"The inhabitants of the city are fleeing while the streets are being filled by refugees arriving en masse from the north to escape from the fighting", said MISNA sources from Goma, where the arrival of the CNDP rebels led by pro-Rwandan Laurent Nkunda appears to be a matter of hours. "Officials from MONUC have alerted us and asked humanitarian operators to meet in established gathering areas until such time as the situation is calm or in the event of a general evacuation" said Gavin Braschi, a volunteer with the Salesian organization 'VIS' to MISNA, speaking from Goma. "We have taken security measures for our staff and for NGO operators" said Madnodje Mounoubai, MONUC spokesman, to MISNA. He said that the mass flight of civilians has been prompted by the fear of violence and looting by the rebels. Sources on site also said that the regular army - in these hours - is abandoning the city, moving its leaders to Minova, about 50 km southwest of Goma, while the MP's from North Kivu have summoned an urgent meeting of the National Assembly to discuss the humanitarian crisis in the region. Local radios are saying that the road to Bukavu, is full of people, as are the bridges linking Goma to Lake Kivu; several civilians have also crossed the Rwandan border toward the twin city of Gisenyi. During a press conference from Kinshasa, meanwhile, the deputy prime minister Emile Bongeli has accused Rwanda "of having attacked Congolese territory through the CNDP rebels". Nkunda's fighters, said Bongeli "do not have their own means and capacity to overcome the Congolese armed forces". Kigali issued an immediate reply, accusing the Congolese army of having opened fire into its own territory, during the fighting against armed groups at the border. The Kigali 'New Times' reports, moreover, news of a message sent by Congolese president Joseph Kabila to his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame, suggesting the convocation of an emergency meeting over Kivu.