UN: Tens of thousands of people flee fighting between Congo troops, militia

A flare-up of fighting in eastern Congo has displaced thousands of people, with some fleeing into Uganda, a UN spokesman said.

“Our colleagues in Congo say that fighting over the weekend between the Congolese armed forces and the M23 (militia) in North Kivu has led to additional population displacement towards our peacekeeping base in Kiwanja,” said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.

Peacekeepers from the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, continued to provide logistical and medical support to the Congolese armed forces and maintained a robust posture to protect civilians, Dujarric added.

He estimated that in the past 11 days, nearly 50,000 people were displaced, including around 12,000 who sought safety in neighbouring Uganda, Xinhua news agency reported.

THe UN spokesperson said that following the call of civil society members in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, there were demonstrations on Sunday and Monday at the border with Rwanda.

Rwanda has been accused of supporting the M23 militia.

“We also have news about the four peacekeepers injured last week near Kiwanja, during clashes between the M23 and Congolese forces,” Dujarric added.

He said that on Saturday, UN peacekeepers in Ituri province, to the north of Kivu, deployed a quick reaction force to Roe, a site hosting displaced people, following fighting between the Congolese armed forces and suspected members of the Zaire militia. While the attack prompted displaced people to seek refuge at the UN peacekeeping premises, there were no reports of injuries.

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