HomeInternationalUN Congo envoy warns conflict may spread in eastern region

UN Congo envoy warns conflict may spread in eastern region

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The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Bintou Keita warned of the “very real risk” of the conflict in eastern Congo spreading.

keita pointed to the increasing territorial gains by the M23 militia in the eastern Congolese province of North Kivu, and noted Rwanda has also increased its support for the militia, in her report to the UN Security Council.

In the subsequent debate, the U.S. ambassador to the UN referred to credible reports of more than 4,000 Rwandan soldiers in Congolese territory who have been involved in attacks.

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The resource-rich eastern Congo and the province of North Kivu in particular has been the scene of armed conflicts for 30 years.

Rwanda refutes the repeated accusations of military intervention in the conflict and, conversely, accuses Congo of failing to adequately protect the Tutsi ethnic group in the east of the country.

“We are witnessing in the DRC one of the most severe, complex and neglected humanitarian crises of our times,” Keita said of the 6.9 million internally displaced in North Kivu alone.

Gender-based violence continues to rise 2023, almost 123,000 cases were reported, an increase of 3 per cent, she said, adding this is probably just the “tip of the iceberg” as many victims stay silent out of shame.

The significant increase in sexual violence against children is alarming, said Keita.

NAN

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