UN mission in DRC on 'high alert' following clashes

New York, US (PANA) - The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is on "high alert" following Friday's clashes between Congolese  government forces and M23 rebels in the vast country’s restive eastern region.

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky, who spoke with UN reporters on Saturday, said that the mission, known by the acronym MONUSCO, reported that on Friday, the Congolese army (FARDC) and M23 exchanged mortar and machine  gun fire near Kibumba, some 15 kms north of the flashpoint city of Goma.

Mr. Nesirky said that the UN mission reported that "approximately 5,000 civilians from Kibumba crossed the border into Rwanda on Friday morning".

"As the fighting continues, MONUSCO continues to closely monitor the  situation," the UN spokesman added.

He also said that the mission was carrying out aerial reconnaissance of the area and has also asked that the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism investigates reports of a shell landing in Kageyo, Rwanda.

In the past year, clashes have continued sporadically throughout DRC's eastern region, with rebels briefly occupying the main city, Goma, in November 2012.

The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region which includes 2.6 million internally-displaced persons and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 26Oct2013

26 october 2013 16:21:12

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