[QODLink]
Africa

Several killed in eastern DRC fighting

Woman and three children among those killed in clashes between M23 rebels and government troops backed by UN forces.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 10:30
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

At least four people have been killed in fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), raising the death toll to seven since clashes between M23 rebels and government forces backed by UN troops started several days ago, witnesses say.

A Reuters witness saw four bodies - a woman and three children - and a resident of Ndosho named Charles Paluku quoted by the AFP news agency said a shell had landed in the area.

The victims of Saturday's fighting were killed by shells fired by M23 rebels, the UN said, as DRC and neighbouring Rwanda traded accusations over days of border fighting.

Three UN peacekeepers were wounded by shells that landed near their positions, the UN said, charging that its troops had been targeted by the rebels.

Much of the fighting has concentrated in and around Goma, a key city in North Kivu province.

Mary Robinson, the UN envoy to the African Great Lakes region, condemned the violence, saying in a statement: "The attacks on the town of Goma as well as on MONUSCO forces, and their tragic consequences on the civilian population already traumatised by two decades of conflict, are unacceptable."

"We must do everything to avoid an escalation of tension in the region," she said.

First military action 

A UN brigade with troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania saw its first military action on Thursday, firing artillery at the rebels.

The brigade was set up by the Security Council in March to help neutralise armed groups in eastern DR Congo.

Artillery fire has hit both sides of the border this week, sparking acusations and counter-accusations by both DR Congo and Rwanda.

Rwandan officials said five mortar bombs had fallen on Rwandan villages on Friday, following a rocket the previous day, and blamed Congo's army.

Rwanda twice invaded its much larger neighbour in the 1990s and sponsored Congolese rebels trying to topple the Kinshasa government.

Millions have died since then in Congo's eastern borderlands, a patchwork of rebel and militia fiefdoms rich in tin as well as tungsten and coltan ores.

UN investigators have accused Rwanda of backing M23, an accusation the Rwandan government has repeatedly rejected.

The M23 rebels briefly seized Goma last year and only pulled out following a regionally brokered deal under which they were supposed to remain several miles outside the city.

Fighting has erupted periodicallyy since mid-July, ending a two-month lull in the violence, and the rebels moved closer to Goma, arguing that Kinshasa was reneging on its pledge to hold direct talks.

425

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.