DRC refugees flee camp after attack

Thousands of refugees fled camps in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s violent Nord-Kivu province on Tuesday after the army said Tutsi-dominated insurgents attacked its positions nearby.

Army officials said they repelled the dawn raid on their positions near the Mugunga camp, 10km from the provincial capital, Goma, killing 27 fighters loyal to renegade General Laurent Nkunda.

A military spokesperson for Nkunda denied his forces had anything to do with the attack.

“There’s a massive movement of displaced towards Goma. It’s thousands of people. They’re packed on to the road, carrying whatever they can,” Aya Shneerson, director of the United Nations’s World Food Programme in Goma, said by telephone from the main road from the camps into the city.

More than 370 000 people have fled fighting in Nord-Kivu between government soldiers, Nkunda’s insurgents, Rwandan Hutu rebels and local Mai Mai militia since the beginning of the year.

More than 20 000 of them have taken refuge in a string of camps outside Goma, close to the border with Rwanda.

Nkunda has waged his latest campaign against government forces since late August, when he abandoned a January peace deal and pulled thousands of his fighters out of special mixed army brigades.

“They did this to show that [the army] is not capable of protecting the people.
That was their objective,” General Vainqueur Mayala, the army’s top commander in Nord-Kivu, said by phone from the scene of the fighting.—Reuters

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