Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) is cautioning that the country risks plunging into a full
scale war between government forces and rebels loyal to reneged army general
Laurent Nkunda. MONUC said there are ongoing pockets of skirmishes between
government forces and the rebels in the restive North Kivu province despite a
recently signed peace deal.
The United Nations and other
international mediators are reportedly calling on both sides to respect the
ceasefire, pull back troops and let UN peacekeepers set up buffer zones to
prevent further fighting. Jack Kahora is VOA correspondent in the DRC. From the
North Kivu capital, Goma he tells reporter Peter Clottey that Congolese have
lost confidence in the United Nations mission in the country.
"The situation is still
confused because since the clashes, which occurred Thursday of last week. The
two groups are still in a bad situation because there is a misunderstanding
between the two groups it means the two positions are ready to fight any time.
And what is obvious is that none of the two groups agrees or accepts that it
committed the mistake of the first to attack," Kahora pointed out.
He said those who were
appointed to mediate between the government and the rebels to bring about peace
have abandoned their mandate.
"The second fact is that
even those people who were appointed to lead the ARMANI, which was the process
signed in Goma in January for peace, now they are taking part in the conflict
because they are making statements to the media, I mean each of the parties in
the ARMANI program now are no longer hiding their faces, they are showing that
they are ready to fight. And there is nobody protecting the local people in
Goma at the moment," he said.
Kahora said most Congolese
are unsure about the objective of the United Nations mission in the Democratic
Republic of Congo.
"Most people are confusing
the role, which MONUC has to play. In fact from the ARMANI program, it was said
MONUC has to secure the local people if their lives are in danger. The second
fact was to observe the buffer zone, which was created between the two-armed
groups and the other part was to observe the ceasefire agreement, which means
if there is any party, which violates the ceasefire, MONUC has to investigate
this and prepare a report," Kahora noted.
He said both the government
and the rebels have expressed their suspicion about the UN mission.
"It appears that MONUC has
not been communicating a lot on what is happening because I hear some people
from even the CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) of Laurent
Nkunda who said that there are so many when the ceasefire have been violated,
but that MONUC does the investigations, but does not make any report about it
and inform people about what happened. And this is also the fact from the
government, which thinks that maybe MONUC is supporting the rebels," he said.
Kahora said both sides have
not lived up to their side of the bargain after signing the agreement.
"There is a kind of
confusion in this peace deal because first of all it has to gather all the
armed groups even those who didn't have any troops on the ground, and this was
a problem. We knew that if the peace deal was signed because there was a
conflict between the government and the CNDP, and since then the two parts have
been keeping silent," Kahora pointed out.
a reported anger spurred by a lack of progress towards pacifying the tiny
border province, and fuelled by rumors of U.N. collaboration with the rebels,
thousands of protesters, many of them refugees, barricaded roads this week near
the town of Rutshuru. A convoy of international mediators was attacked by an
angry mob on Tuesday.
peacekeepers traveling through Rutshuru on Wednesday were forced to seek refuge
in a MONUC base after protesters surrounded and burned one of their armored
vehicles. The United Nations accuses local officials and politicians of
manipulating protests, but Doss said it was understandable local people
targeted by both army and rebels were frustrated.