KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 1 (UPI) -- A spike in rebel violence in the east of Congo drew condemnation Thursday from a top U.N. official who called for protection of civilians.
John Holmes, undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said the escalation of violence by the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, continues to terrorize civilians in the South Kivu region in Eastern Congo, the United Nations reported.
Holmes said that the violence, which has displaced an estimated 100,000 people in South Kivu since January, is a response plans for a new operation targeting the FDLR. Holmes called on military leaders to ensure that civilians are protected as violence intensifies.
"In the event of intensified fighting between government forces and armed groups in the weeks ahead, all armed actors in South Kivu must have as a top priority protection of civilians and their livelihoods," Holmes said in a statement.