DR Congo

DR Congo: Refugee camps being used to launch rebel attacks

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUC, has protested against the use of camps for internally displaced people (IDP's) by rebels from the CNDP to launch attacks against the Congolese Army, the FARDC, in violation of international conventions

MONUC's Military Operations Chief, Lieutenant Colonel Samba Tall, said the attacks were also targetted at humanitarian aid workers, MONUC facilities and its peacekeepers.

Lieutenant Colonel Tall said that on Tuesday, the CNDP had initiated attacks from the IDP camp at Mugunga. MONUC underlined its commitment to prevent CNDP attacks on camps for refugees between Sake and Goma.

MONUC took all possible measures in the context of its mandate to protect the local population and the refugees and to secure main routes. The Lieutenant Colonel said that the Mission has in the last three days repeatedly used its forces to provide security to the population. "MONUC will continue to do that in line with its mandate", he added.

MONUC's spokesman, Michel Bonnardeaux, deplored the fact that the inhabitants of North-Kivu had suffered serious flagrant violations of human rights, noting that villages and IDP camps have been pillaged.. He revealed that since the beginning of the fighting at the end of August, there had been more than 40 attacks on health facilities and more than 80 attacks on convoys and humanitarian facilities. "The fighters are attacking and pillaging without any respect for local and international NGO's", he added.

MONUC says seizing civilian property is a serious violation of the obligations of armed groups in conflict situations. It is asking that all parties respect the Geneva convention and in particular the Rome statute.

MONUC is demanding that the parties to the conflict guarantee the free movement of people looking for shelter and protection from the fighting as well as free passage for humanitarian aid workers. MONUC says armed combatants are also obliged to respect hospitals, health centres and facilities for potable water.