DR Congo

DR Congo: North Kivu - New fighting north of Goma

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There is relative calm in this moment in the area of Kibumba (around 30km north of Goma, capital of the North Kivu province, in east Democratic Republic of Congo), where heavy fighting took place last night and this morning between the Congolese armed forces and rebels of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) of the pro-Rwandan renegade general Laurent Nkunda. According to local sources, units of the MONUC (United Nations mission in DR-Congo) also entered in action in this morning's fighting, sending two helicopter gunships (as also occurred yesterday) to stop the advance of the rebels. Some eyewitnesses report that Kibumba was seized this morning by the CNDP (though there is no official confirmation) and heavy artillery exchanges in the area of Kilimanyoka, around 10km further south. Congolese army sources also accused the military of neighbouring Rwanda of involvement in the fighting, claiming that Rwandan armoured vehicles were opening fire from the Kasizi hills, which stretch along the border between Rwanda and DR-Congo. Meanwhile, thousands of people continue fleeing the front of the fighting. At least 20,000 people were reported in movement toward Goma after being forced to leave a displaced camp in the Kibumba area. Reports are still confused on Rutshuru, the main town of the homonymous area on the border with Uganda, which the CNDP claims it seized last night. While local witnesses confirm the presence of CNDP rebels on the streets of the town, some local radios report that government troops are positioned in Kiwanja, on the outskirts of Rutshuru where a MONUC base is located.

[BO]