Britain 'deeply alarmed' by DRC conflict

Nov. 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

LONDON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The British government said Monday any of its citizens in eastern DRC should leave the area amid intense rebel fighting.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday the government was "deeply alarmed" by escalating conflict in eastern North Kivu province in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hague said he was concerned about the advance of rebels from the March 23 movement on Goma, noting all parties to the conflict need to resolve the crisis peacefully.

"Any British nationals in Goma should leave," he said in a statement.

Last week, North Kivu's governor told the BBC he received a phone call from rebels in the provincial capital of Goma saying they would "spend the night." The governor, however, said rebel elements would be overcome.

The BBC reports that, by Monday, M23 rebels have moved within a few miles of Goma. They've given DRC forces there 24 hours to leave the city.

Residents told the BBC that U.N. forces were active during the weekend. Rwandan forces, meanwhile, said DRC troops fired across the border as fighting intensified.

The governments of Rwanda and Uganda are suspected of supporting M23 rebels, former soldiers who accuse the government on reneging on a 2009 peace agreement. The governments deny the charges.

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