Goma calm remains finely balanced

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Goma calm remains finely balanced

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UN troops patrol as a nervous calm returns to the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Goma was thrown into chaos on Wednesday night as Tutsi rebels, led by Laurent Nkunda, reached the city’s outskirts before declaring a ceasefire.

Despite a 17,000 strong UN force, the world’s biggest, the peacekeepers are reportedly stretched to breaking point.

The North Kivu province has been riddled with continuous violence since 2003, despite a peace deal being signed to end a five year internal war.

Nkunda has refused to disarm saying Hutu rebels continue to operate in the region from neighbouring Rwanda.

The EU is considering a French plan to send a 1,500 strong peacekeeper force to help support the UN and government troops, but talks are ongoing.

Yesterday, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, warned of a humanitarian crisis of ‘catastrophic proportions’ as thousands of people fleed the rebel advance.

The UN chief has sent envoys to both the Rwandan and Congolese capitals in a bid to mediate in the crisis.