DR Congo

DR Congo/North Kivu: Weekend fighting spreads South

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The fighting continued over the weekend in the eastern North Kivu province, spreading toward the border with South Kivu, between the Congolese army and rebel forces of the so-called general Laurent Nkunda, by many merely considered a 'warlord'. United Nations sources reported hours of fighting at Ngungu, around 60km west of North Kivu's capital Goma. According to a MONUC (UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) spokesman, heavy fighting took place yesterday also north of the city of Rutshuru, among the epicentres of the new wave of violence. The crisis is DR-Congo was the focus of an emergency summit of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) held in Johannesburg and attended by Congolese President Joseph Kabila. At the opening of the works, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe called on the sides in conflict for an immediate end to hostilities. "The current mandate" of the MONUC peacekeepers "limits their ability to become real peacemakers and provide for a lasting solution", he added. "The SADC will not stand by and witness any destructive acts of violence by any armed groups", said Tomaz Salom=E3o, secretary general of the community, not excluding a possible intervention by peacekeeping forces alongside the Congolese army. [BO]