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AU express dismay at bombing on IDP camps in DR Congo

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African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has condemned a bombing on sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which killed at least 14 people.

In a statement issued late Sunday, Faki deplored the ongoing escalation of violence in eastern DRC, where multiple armed groups operate, reiterating the AU’s position in favor of a comprehensive political solution to the region’s peace and security challenges.

On Friday morning, about 10 bombs fell on several IDP sites around Goma, the capital of the eastern North Kivu province. At least 14 people were killed and 35 others injured, mostly women and children, according to Peter Chirimwami, military governor of North Kivu province.

Faki said such violence goes against the spirit and letter of the conclusions of the Luanda ministerial meeting of March 21, 2024, which had notably called for a complete and immediate ceasefire in the region.

He reaffirmed his support for the Luanda and Nairobi processes in seeking to achieve lasting peace in eastern DRC and throughout the Great Lakes region.

The government of the DRC blamed these attacks on rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23), who have engaged in fighting against the DRC army and taken control of territories in North Kivu province.

The president of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, who was on a visit to Europe, cut short his trip following the bombing on the IDP sites. “I guarantee you that we will win this fight no matter the cost,” he told the Congolese community in Belgium on Friday.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, called on all parties to take appropriate measures to reduce risks to the protection of civilians and maintain humanitarian access.

MONUSCO is expected to leave the DRC no later than the end of 2024, by handing over UN bases and equipment to DRC security forces under a three-phase departure plan.

“I reiterate the call of the United Nations secretary-general to all armed groups in eastern DRC to cease all hostilities immediately, to lay down their arms unconditionally, and to join the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Community Rehabilitation and Stabilisation Program,” Bintou Keita, the head of MONUSCO, said in a statement Friday.

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