The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat on Tuesday evening condemned recent rebel attacks against Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) army and United Nations (UN) peacekeepers.
In a press statement, the AU Commission chairperson said he is dismayed by M23 rebels’ attacks against the Congolese army and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) peacekeepers in Rutshuru locality, North Kivu zone of DRC that caused major population displacement and humanitarian emergency.
“The AU Commission chairperson joins the Congolese authorities and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of MONUSCO in strongly condemning these attacks and extends his condolences to the families of the victims,” said the statement.
“The AU Commission chairperson encourages the Congolese authorities, in collaboration with MONUSCO forces, to strengthen the protection of regrouping sites for displaced persons and ensure the protection of civilians in eastern DRC,” the statement further said.
Mahamat also called on the M23 rebels to lay down their arms, cease all hostilities and commit themselves to the resolution of the crisis in eastern DRC.
On Tuesday, Bintou Keita, Head of MONUSCO, accused the M23 rebels of deliberately targeting MONUSCO peacekeepers stationed in the Shangi area of the northeastern North Kivu province early Sunday, hours after attacking positions of the armed forces of the DRC.
The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government. M23 leaders have accused the government of failing to respect that agreement.
The M23 announced in early April its withdrawal from the villages it took earlier in the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu province.
However, early Sunday, intense fighting resumed between the DRC armed forces and the M23 in the Rutshuru territory in the province, said Guillaume Ndjike Kaiko, DRC forces spokesperson in the region. Enditem