Ban 'deeply concerned' about DRC conflict

KAMPALA, Uganda, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he remains "deeply concerned" about the security situation in DRC because of rebel forces in the country.

The March 23 Movement rebelled against the government of Democratic Republic of the Congo early this year, saying the government backtracked on a previous peace deal that saw rebel groups integrated into the national military.


Ban, in a statement delivered to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Uganda, said the M23 rebellion was having devastating consequences on the civilian population.

"I remain deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian conditions in eastern DRC, resulting from the activities of the M23 mutineers, as well as other national and foreign armed groups," his statement read.

The United Nations estimates fighting in DRC has left around 500,000 people displaced. Escalating violence, said Ban, was threatening to engulf the entire Great Lakes region in West Africa.

The United Nations said it had evidence that civilians were massacred in DRC's North Kivu province since the beginning of August. The M23 militia is accused of systematically targeting the civilian population.

Rebel Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, who leads M23, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for allegedly conscripting child soldiers to fight in DRC.


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