Col. Sultani Makenga of M23 with stick in middle of photograph. The M23 are defectors from the Democratic Republic of Congo army. They have seized several towns in the East., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
UN HELICOPTERS ATTACK “REBEL” POSITIONS IN THE DRC
Posted on July 24, 2012
by Alexandra Valiente
UN helicopters have attacked rebel positions in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for the second time this month, officials say.
Mamodj Munubai, a spokesman for MONUSCO, the UN mission in DR Congo, said that the attack was launched on Tuesday in response to a rebel offensive against the civilian population.
There have been no reports so far on the number of casualties.
The UN forces carried out the helicopter attack after clashes broke out between M23 rebels and government troops north of the regional capital Goma.
The fighting began when rebels attacked army positions around Rugari and Kimumba, north of Goma, Major Olivier Hamuli, the army spokesman for Nord Kivu province, said.
He added that about 2,000 residents were forced to flee the region.
UN helicopters were deployed on July 12 to stop a rebel advance on Goma after rebels seized a number of towns on the Congo’s border with Uganda.
The rebels, known as the March 23 movement, defected from the Congolese army in April in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
The mutiny is being led by General Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on a charge of recruiting child soldiers.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.5 million people dead.
UN helicopters fire on rebels in eastern DR Congo
KINSHASA — United Nations helicopters fired on rebel positions Tuesday in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after new clashes broke out between rebel fighters and loyalist troops, officials said.
The second such UN action against rebels in a month came in response to a rebel offensive “against the civilian population”, said Mamodj Munubai, a spokesman for MONUSCO, the UN mission in DR Congo.
The airbourne action followed renewed clashes that broke out between M23 rebel fighters and loyalist troops, north of the regional capital Goma.
Major Olivier Hamuli, the army spokesman for Nord Kivu province, said fighting erupted after rebels attacked army positions around Rugari and Kimumba, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of regional capital Goma.
No casualty figures were immediately available but Munubai said about 2,000 residents were forced to flee the region.
On July 12, UN helicopters were deployed to stop a rebel advance on Goma after rebels seized a number of towns on DR Congo’s border with Uganda.
The mutineers are Tutsi ex-rebels who were integrated into the regular army in 2009 as part of a peace deal that followed their failed 2008 offensive on Goma.
They mutinied in April, demanding better pay and the full implementation of the March 23, 2009 peace deal after which they are named.
Kinshasa accuses Kigali of sponsoring the rebellion — a complaint supported by a UN panel, which said in June that Rwanda was supplying the rebels. Rwanda has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Earlier this month, Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame agreed to deploy a joint task force to neutralise the M23 rebels.