Eastern DRC situation 'complex'

Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM
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GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is "very complex and difficult," the head of the ICRC delegation there said.

Uganda hosted peace talks Friday between warring Congolese factions. The rebel March 23 movement pulled out of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, last week. The group this year mutinied, protesting that the government in Kinshasa reneged on peace agreements.

Franz Rauchenstein, head of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross in DRC, said the situation in the eastern Kivu provinces was complicated.

"The situation in the Kivu provinces is still very complex and difficult," he said in a statement. "Things are now relatively calm in areas that were previously badly affected, whereas communities in other parts of the provinces face fighting and acts of extreme violence."

U.N. officials had said they've heard reports of widespread looting and a growing number of rapes among members of the various communities displaced by fighting in eastern DRC. The International Criminal Court has suspected some rebel leaders may have committed war crimes.

"No-one is spared the consequences -- not even women and children," said Rauchenstein. "We're also concerned there could be a fresh outbreak of crime in the city of Goma."

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