Civilians flee DRC violence, U.N. says

April 2, 2013 at 10:11 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, April 2 (UPI) -- U.N. peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are monitoring the security situation in the east of the country, a spokesman said.

The U.N. mission in DRC, known by its French initials MONUSCO, said about 1,500 civilians sought refuge near a peacekeeping base in the east of the country. They fled the area near the Rwandan border following clashes between Congolese and rebel forces last week.

"The situation is reported to be calm at present but the U.N. mission continues to monitor the situation and patrol the area," U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey said in a statement.

MONUSCO last week handed more than 200 rebel fighters over to the Congolese government. The U.N. Security Council backed a special unit within the peacekeeping mission that would have combat duties.

Rights group said the intervention brigade would raise the risk of reprisal attacks.

The rebel March 23 Movement seized control over parts of eastern DRC last year. Former M23 leader Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the International Criminal Court, where he's the subject of two arrest warrants for war crimes committed in DRC.

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