Rebels urged to join DR Congo army

UN humanitarian chief says the fighting in Nord-Kivu is harming aid effort.

    UN officials said the violence is preventing aid from reaching people displaced by the fighting [AFP]

    In video

    UN struggles to get aid to thousands of civilians

    It also hailed "the observance of the ceasefire" it imposed on Thursday after renegade troops tried to take the town of Sake, Gabriel de Brosses, Monuc spokesman, said.

    The truce was announced on Thursday after nearly two weeks of fighting between the army and soldiers loyal to General Laurent Nkunda, but there were reports of it being broken within 24 hours.

    General Bikram Singh, Monuc's military commander, said the renegade troops' retreat from urban centres would be a "first step" to allow the truce to be consolidated.

    Humanitarian efforts

    UN officials said on Saturday that the violence was hampering efforts to deliver food aid to the tens of thousands of displaced civilians.

    "I met some thousands of people yesterday who've just fled the town of Sake which have been threatened by the forces of General Nkunda," John Holmes, UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told Al Jazeera after a three-day visit to the region.

    "We sleep under the stars without shelter. We have nothing to eat because we brought nothing with us"


    Jean Balengele

    "They were in a pretty poor state, they were pretty poor already because they have been displaced several times before and have been unable to cultivate their fields normally for some years now, so their resources are virtually at an end."

    Aid workers said the population at a makeshift displaced persons' camp at Mugunga, had swelled to 27,000 people, most of whom fled Sake and the surrounding area.

    "We sleep under the stars without shelter. We have nothing to eat because we brought nothing with us," Jean Balengele, a pastor displaced by the fighting, said.
     
    "Nobody here is giving us anything."

    The region was once nominally controlled by rival rebel factions who later signed a peace deal with the government to end the war, which lasted from 1998 to 2002.
     
    Nkunda, who is believed to be close to military officials in Rwanda, quit the army and launched his own rebellion after the war ended, claiming the country's transition to democracy was flawed and excluded the country's ethnic Tutsi minority.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?