Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) is demanding rebels
loyal to renegade army general Laurent Nkunda to relinquish an army base it
seized yesterday (Sunday). Nkunda's National Congress for the defense of People
(CNDP) rebel group reportedly seized an east Congo army base and the headquarters of a refuge housing some
of the world's last mountain gorillas, in heavy
fighting that left unknown number of soldiers, rebels and civilians killed in
the renewed fighting in the restive North Kivu province.
rebel attack marked the second time rebels have seized the Congolese national
Army Rumangabo base since Aug. 28, when renegade army general Laurent Nkunda went on the offensive charging that
government troops had broken a January cease-fire agreement.
Michel Bonnardeaux is the
spokesman for MONUC. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the Congolese
capital, Kinshasa that the rebels also attacked a United Nations convoy after
seizing the Congolese army base.
"Indeed yesterday (Sunday)
in the early hours of the morning the CNDP that is the rebel group led by
general Laurent Nkunda attacked a military camp called Rumangabo, which is 50
kilometers north of Goma, the provincial capital and not very far from Rwanda.
Now, they took over the camp about 10 days ago and had withdrawn once the UN
had pressured them to do so because it is outside their zone of influence and
outside of what we call the separation zone between the two forces. So that is
what happened yesterday," Bonnardeaux pointed out.
He said the United Nations
mission in the DRC is demanding the rebels return the seized army base to the
"Once again we've asked them
to leave the premises and return it to the national army and the national army
was also occupying another village called Tongo and they also withdrew from
that village after UN pressure and it was later taken over by the CNDP rebels.
So, pressure is ongoing," he said.
Bonnardeaux said expressed
its displeasure to the rebel command after they attacked a United Nations
"The new thing today is that
the CNDP rebels shot at two APC those are armor personal carriers of the UN as
the UN was trying to maintain security along the major roads between Goma and
Ruturu," Bonnardeaux noted.
He said although the United
Nations is trying to maintain peace in the restive north Kivu, it would not
tolerate any rebel attacks on its forces adding that the UN would soon demand
both opposing parties abide by the already signed agreement.
moment is certainly coming. The UN has a lot of patience, but certainly when we
get shot at it becomes very worrisome and we've made it very clear to the
rebels that we would not fathom this kind of behavior," he pointed out.
Bonnardeaux said the United
Nations Mission in the DRC is providing a safe zone for civilians in the
restive north Kivu region to move about to more safe areas.
"That is the principal
reason why we were maintaining security around the major passages in order for
people who wish to flee and people who are fleeing from the combat zone for
them to do it safely. Now, the MONUC position continues to be the implementation
of the peace process that was negotiated back in January, and this attack today
is really a set back and it does not help the situation at all. It also doesn't
help the CNDP in what they are complaining, which is a concerted attack by the
national army on the Hutu rebels that are still roaming around the hills of
eastern Congo and threatening certain ethnic groups in that area," Bonnardeaux
He said it would a bad
strategic move if the rebel attack forms part of Nkunda's plan to take over the
"Well, if that is what he
was trying to do then it's the wrong way because that is eastbound attacks
whereas Kinshasa would be the other about 2000 kilometers. So, no, I don't
think that is a major offensive on the country. as you know the country is absolutely
very huge, which is over two million kilometers," he noted.