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Congo: UN Security Council tells DRC rebels to withdraw


UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua): The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday strongly condemned the attacks by the M23 rebels of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and demanded their immediate withdrawal from Goma, capital city of North Kivu province.

In a resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-nation Council, the members of the Council "strongly condemn" the resumption of attacks by the M23 rebels in North Kivu in eastern DRC and the seizure of Goma.

The Council "demands the immediate withdrawal of the M23 from Goma, the cessation of any further advances by the M23 and that its members immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms, and further demands the restoration of State authority of the Government of the DRC in Goma and in North Kivu", said the resolution.

The newly emerging M23 rebels launched a pre-dawn raid on the town of Kibumba in North Kivu on Saturday, prompting the UN to dispatch attack helicopters at dawn for defense and hold an emergency meeting to discuss the surging violence.

Despite the presence of 1,500 troops of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the M23 fighters claimed that they controlled Goma on Tuesday.

Also, the resolution strongly condemned the M23 and all its attacks on civilians, MONUSCO peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, as well as its abuse of human rights.

The M23 rebel group is composed of breakaway soldiers from the country's national army. It recently seized seven towns in North Kivu province and attacked schools, hospitals, homes and other civilian targets.

The provinces of North and South Kivu in eastern DRC have recently witnessed intensified fighting between government troops and the M23, which has displaced more than 100,000 people and forced many to fled to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

The Council members also expressed their deep concern about reports indicating that the M23 is continuing to obtain external support, which significantly increased its military strength.

They demanded that "any and all outside support to the M23 cease immediately," the resolution said, calling on all relevant players to use their influence on the M23 to stop the attacks.

Rwanda has long been accused of supporting the M23, but the Council has not named the country on the ground of insufficient "hard evidence".

The Council expressed its intention to consider "additional targeted sanctions" against the leadership of the M23, those providing external support to the M23 and those who violated the sanction regime.

Moreover, the Council called on all parties, in particular the M23, to "allow safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need in accordance with international law".

The UN humanitarian agencies are deeply concerned about the situation of tens of thousands of internally displaced people in eastern DRC.

More than 2.4 million people have been internally displaced in the country as a result of violence and conflict, and 4.5 million people nationwide have been suffering from food insecurity, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Commending the tireless efforts of all MONUSCO contingents and its active operations, the Council stressed that any attempts to undermine MONUSCO's ability to implement its mandate will not be tolerated.

Editor: Wang Yuanyuan

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