/ 6 September 2007

UN: DRC army, rebel general agree ceasefire

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) army and a renegade general have agreed to a United Nations-brokered ceasefire to halt more than a week of clashes in the east, the UN mission in DRC (Monuc) said on Thursday.

”A ceasefire has been facilitated by Monuc between [General Laurent] Nkunda and the government troops. It’s been in progress since around 1pm [local time] this afternoon,” said Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg, UN spokesperson in the volatile North Kivu province.

The deal came as thousands of Tutsi fighters loyal to Nkunda appeared to have turned the tide on government forces, and were pressing ahead towards the regional capital, Goma, sending thousands of civilians fleeing.

Nkunda’s forces had neared Sake, just 20km from Goma, earlier on Thursday but Van Den Wildenberg said they had not entered the town.

”Nkunda tried to take Sake but UN peacekeepers were able to convince his troops to withdraw,” she said. ”They also made it very clear that another advance on Sake would not be tolerated.” — Reuters