“After 4pm on Thursday, 1 August, they[any individuals in the area of North Kivu province that includes Goma and Sake who are not members of national security forces] will be considered an imminent threat of physical violence to civilians and MONUSCO will take all necessary measures to disarm them, including by the use of force in accordance with its mandate and rules of engagement,” The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), known as MONUSCO, announced today on July 30, 2013 threatening to use the UN Forces of the Intervention Brigade (FIB) to enforce a security zone in and around the provincial capital of Goma, in Easten Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
This means that in 48 hours, the FIB is expected to launch ground attacks against M23 Congolese rebels supported by the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF).
The statement by MONUSCO has also accused the M23 rebels of indiscriminate killings targeting civilians before and during the latest attacks. “In these attacks, the latest of which started on 14 July, the M23 has used indiscriminate and indirect fire, including by heavy weapons, resulting in civilian casualties,” MONUSCO said.
MONUSCO also said that the military operations will be expanded to other areas to flush out the M23 rebels. The next most likely next area of operations could be Sake and Rutshuru. Last week, M23 rebels looted the town of Kiwandja and rounded up civilians, mostly young men forcing them to join its ranks (see our article: M23 Rebels Loot Kiwandja, in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Cong0, on July 26).
The 48 h ultimatum by MONUSCO may signal the start of the much awaited ground operations by the 3000 forces strong UN Intervention Brigade.
© 2013 AfroAmerica Network. All Rights Reserved.