Fierce fighting rages in eastern DR Congo
Fierce fighting rages between UN peacekeepers and Ugandan rebels in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The violent clashes erupted after peacekeepers tracked down the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) rebels in the troubled region early on Tuesday.
General Jean Baillaud, acting commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), said the UN forces attacked the rebels’ positions at dawn using combat helicopters.
This comes a day after a series of clashes between rebels and soldiers in a town in eastern Congo killed at least 30 people. The violent battle involved Congolese army and UN forces combating Ugandan rebels in North Kivu’s town of Eringeti.
The ADF-NALU was founded in Uganda in 1995 and later moved to Congo. It has been accused of committing serious human rights violations, including recruiting child soldiers and rape.
ADF-NALU and dozens of other armed groups have been active in eastern Congo since the 1996-2003 Congo wars.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and has left over 5.5 million people dead.
The rebels are also accused of carrying out attacks in DR Congo and committing serious human rights violations, including recruiting child soldiers and rape.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo has a unique mandate to take military action against rebel groups that have plagued the vast region since the Rwanda genocide two decades ago.