Congo rebels set up de facto administration – UN

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Rebels have set up a de facto administration in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said on Tuesday as the Security Council urged a political solution to the crisis rather than applying sanctions.

Ladsous briefed the 15-member Security Council after his recent visit to Congo, or the DRC, and Rwanda, which has been accused by Kinshasa and UN experts of supporting the M23 rebel group. Kigali has repeatedly denied any involvement in the crisis.

A high-level meeting on the DRC is due to be held next week during the UN General Assembly in New York.

“The sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Congo has to be respected,” Ladsous told reporters. “Clearly there needs to be some confidence rebuilt, especially between the two main neighbors DRC and Rwanda.”

M23 rebels, who have links to Bosco Ntaganda, a warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges, have been fighting government soldiers in North Kivu province since April, displacing some 470,000 civilians.

“M23 elements are concentrated in a corner of the eastern Kivu, which is next to the borders of Rwanda and Uganda,” Ladsous told reporters. “They are already establishing a sort of de facto administration, controlling population, taking ‘taxes’ from people who pass through and that … is hardly acceptable.”

“There has been no major offensive in a military sense over the past five or six weeks, but clearly this can change very quickly and in many directions,” he said.

A UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, has more than 17,000 troops, but the force is stretched thin across a nation the size of Western Europe and struggles to fulfil its current mandate of protecting civilians.

UN helicopter gunships frequently back up outgunned government forces, but even that firepower failed to prevent rebels from taking several towns in July.

Last month, the DRC said it had asked the Security Council to place sanctions on Rwanda’s defence minister and two top military officials for backing the rebellion.

A UN experts report has accused Rwandan Defence Minister James Kaberebe, chief of defence staff Charles Kayonga, and General Jacques Nziza, a military adviser to President Paul Kagame, of being “in constant contact with M23.”

“Council members agreed that a political solution to the crisis is of the utmost priority,” Germany’s UN ambassador, Peter Wittig, president of the Security Council for September, told reporters after the briefing by Ladsous.

“I detect a will to strengthen the political dialogue and not to focus on sanctions at this point in time,” Wittig said. “Dialogue, confidence building and cooperation between Kinshasa and Kigali are urgently needed to address also the root causes of the conflict.”

More in World News

default placeholder

Islamic State claims responsibility for Kabul attack, 80 dead

KABUL (Reuters) – Twin explosions tore through a demonstration by members of Afghanistan’s mainly Shi’ite Hazara minority in Kabul yesterday, killing at least 80 people and wounding more than 230 in a suicide attack claimed by Islamic State.

default placeholder

Spy agencies struggle to spot threats from lone, mentally ill attackers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Recent attacks on civilians in the US and Europe have exposed a gap in the intelligence community’s efforts to track suspected extremists and prevent mass killings, a half dozen American, British and French counterterrorism officials told Reuters.

default placeholder

Turkey’s Erdogan shuts schools, charities in first state of emergency decree

ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey yesterday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup.

default placeholder

Heavy rain in China kills at least 87, thousands evacuated

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Heavy rain in China has killed at least 87 people and forced thousands from their homes, state media reported yesterday.

default placeholder

Munich gunman raised locally, had no ties to Islamic state -police

BERLIN, (Reuters) – A German-Iranian teenager who shot and killed nine people and then himself in Munich on Friday had received psychiatric care and was in all probability a lone gunman who had no ties to Islamic State, police said.

A screen grab taken from video footage shows a view of the Olympia shopping mall, the scene of a shooting rampage in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016. Marc Mueller/Handout via REUTERS

German-Iranian gunman kills at least nine in Munich shopping mall

MUNICH,  (Reuters) – An 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman who apparently acted alone opened fire in a busy shopping mall in Munich last evening, killing at least nine people in the third attack against civilians in Western Europe in eight days.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.



Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: