U.N. peacekeepers are preparing convoys to evacuate some 50 foreign aid workers from a town in violence-ravaged eastern Congo.
Tutsi rebels are advancing toward Rutshuru, around 100 kilometers north of the provincial capital Goma. The rebels are reportedly closing in relentlessly on the city.
Ron Redmond is a spokesman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva:
“There are already some 800,000 to one million people internally displaced in this region so it’s really a huge population in need of help.
It’s a very difficult security situation to work in.
Basically those who have been forced to flee their homes have to reach us because we simply cannot
send teams out into the countryside. There is simply too much fighting going on and it’s too dangerous. It’s anarchy.”
Congolese government troops are said to be in full-scale retreat from the frontline, escaping the fighting in trucks, tanks and on foot.
The population of Rutshuru is fleeing north in total panic. Tens of thousands of civilians are jamming the roads, to escape the rebel army of Laurent Nkunda that reportedly has a reputation for brutality.