UN waits for rebels to leave Goma

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New York - The United Nations said on Thursday that it still hasn’t seen any substantial sign of rebels leaving the key Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma as part of an internationally-brokered ceasefire.

Deputy UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey said the UN mission in the DRC would start aerial reconnaissance missions to monitor the M23 rebels who have taken Goma and large parts of mineral-rich North Kivu province.

“Reports indicate movements of small groups of M23 troops in and out of Goma, but the mission has not yet been able to ascertain whether there is a net reduction of M23 troops in the city,” Del Buey told reporters.

The rebels have now said they will only hand over the city to the army on Friday or Saturday.

Del Buey added that there were reports of “M23 movement” out of the Masisi district of North Kivu, which was also taken in the recent rebel offensive.

The UN mission is “planning aerial reconnaissance to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire”, he said.

The M23 rebellion was launched in April but surged in November when the army mutineers launched an offensive on Goma. A ceasefire was brokered by East African nations at the weekend.

Moustapha Soumare, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator in the DRC, told reporters from Kinshasa that about 130 000 people were displaced at sites around Goma because of the conflict. - Sapa-AFP

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