Fresh Violence Breaks Out in DRC

Posted November 17th, 2012 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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United Nations helicopters have launched an aerial attack on M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after fresh fighting broke an uneasy truce between the rebels and Congolese soldiers this week.

The United Nations and local officials in eastern DRC say U.N. aircraft fired on M23 forces after they gained ground against troops in the town of Kibumba, driving the Congolese forces to the outskirts of town.

The fighting took place in the same region where clashes first erupted Thursday.

In Thursday's clashes, at least 44 people were reported killed near the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Each side accuses the other of starting the fighting. North Kivu governor Julien Paluku told the French news agency that as many as 113 rebels were killed.

The rebels are Congolese soldiers who defected earlier this year, demanding better pay and weapons.

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting later Saturday at France's request to discuss the matter.

The renewed violence coincides with the release of a United Nations report on the conflict that repeats earlier accusations that elements in neighboring Rwanda and Uganda are supporting the rebels.

Rwanda and Uganda have strongly denied accusations they are supporting M23. Uganda has said if the United Nations does not withdraw the allegations, it may remove its soldiers from international peacekeeping missions, including the one in Somalia.