Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with sale of warships to Russia

    Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

Rebels claim capture of strategic town

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-29

UN peacekeepers were trying Tuesday to verify a claim that rebels had overtaken the strategic town of Rutshuru. The UNHCR, meanwhile, said it was preparing for the arrival of 30,000 refugees at a camp near the regional capital, Goma.

 

GOMA, Congo - Congolese Tutsi rebels overran the eastern town of Rutshuru on Tuesday, a rebel spokesman said, in an offensive that has forced tens of thousands of people to flee for their lives.

 

"We have taken the town of Rutshuru and the (adjoining) town of Kiwanja," rebel spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa told Reuters.

 

Earlier the head of the government army's operations in the area, Colonel Delphin Kahimbi, said he would have to abandon the town in the face of a rebel advance that began on Sunday.

 

The military spokesman for U.N. peacekeeping mission MONUC, Colonel Samba Tall, said MONUC was attempting to verify the rebels' statement, but U.N. forces were still in Rutshuru.

 

Speaking from Kinshasa, the head of MONUC Alan Doss said he was unaware the town had fallen into rebel hands.

 

"As far as I know they haven't taken the town of Rutshuru," he told reporters at the U.N. in New York by video link-up.

 

Bisimwa said rebels loyal to renegade Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda had also encircled the provincial capital Goma 100 km (60 miles) to the south. That could not be independently verified.

 

U.N. peacekeepers had to scrap a bid to evacuate around 50 foreign aid workers from Rutshuru, in the bloodstained province of North Kivu, earlier on Tuesday.

 

"The situation is very tense. They were blocked by both the population and soldiers. There are also attacks on humanitarian installations and looting," said Evo Brandau, spokesman for the U.N. humanitarian office OCHA.

 

"The army is no longer guaranteeing security."

 

Rutshuru normally shelters tens of thousands of internal refugees displaced by nearly two years of on-off fighting in the tin-mining region, but Kahimbi said the camps had emptied.

 

 

 

REFUGEES FLEE AGAIN

 

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said it was preparing for the arrival of 30,000 people at its Kibati camp 10 km (6 miles) north of Goma, including 20,000 from the village of Kibumba, 20 km (12 miles) from Goma, which insurgents attacked on Monday.

 

MONUC helicopters attacked rebel positions north of Goma on Monday, drawing anti-aircraft fire from Nkunda loyalists.

 

"MONUC will use all available means to protect urban centres including Rutshuru, Sake (to the west of Goma), and Goma," said Michel Bonnardeaux, spokesman for the peace force, whose 17,000 personnel are mostly deployed in Congo's east.

 

Nkunda's National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) accuses Congo's army of collaborating with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which includes Hutu militias and former Rwandan soldiers responsible for Rwanda's 1994 genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

 

Around 250,000 civilians have fled their homes in North Kivu since a January peace deal collapsed in August. Nearly two years of sporadic fighting had already displaced around 850,000 people before the latest fighting began, according to U.N. figures.

 

Congo's 1998-2003 war and the resulting humanitarian crisis have killed an estimated 5.4 million people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date created : 2008-10-28

COMMENT(S)