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Shots fired despite ceasefire in DR Congo

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Shots fired despite ceasefire in DR Congo


The UN Security Council has condemned the advance of rebel troops in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Earlier, the Tutsi rebel fighters declared a unilateral ceasefire, aiming to calm fears that they would overwhelm government forces and UN peacekeeping troops based in the regional capital Goma.

But heavy gunfire was reported after dark.

Congo’s North Kivu province has been riddled with continuous violence since 2003, despite the end of a five-year internal war.

France has suggested sending a 1,500-troop EU force to DR Congo, but several bloc members are said to be against the idea, notably Germany.

Four days of fighting in the new rebel offensive has already displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

On Wednesday, an estimated 45,000 civilians fled to Goma from two camps at Kibati, ten kilometres to the north, to escape heavy fighting.

In total, around 250,000 have fled their homes in North Kivu since August, when a ceasefire that was brokered in January collapsed.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has warned of a humanitarian crisis of ‘catastrophic proportions.’

The rebel advance on Goma has sparked panic and accusations that the UN force is not doing enough to fight off the rebels. UN troops themselves have come under attack from civilians.

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