Violent fighting in the DRC where an aid plane is expected

Heavy fighting in DR Congo where aid plane expected


Fighting is raging on Friday morning, according to local sources, between the army and M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo less than 30 km from the large city of Goma where an emergency European aid plane is expected during the day. 

The aircraft is the first chartered as part of a civilian humanitarian airlift announced on Saturday by the European Union to come to the aid of populations affected by the fighting.

Goma is the capital of the North -Kivu, province in which the M23, supported by Rwanda according to Kinshasa and UN experts, has conquered large swaths of territory since last year. Most of the city's land supply routes were cut off and Goma found itself wedged between Rwanda to the east, Lake Kivu to the south and the rebels to the north and west.

The city has more than a million inhabitants, to which have been added thousands of war-displaced people, driven from their villages by the fighting. The aid plane is carrying emergency shelter, hygiene kits and medicine, among other things.

On the ground, after a day of calm on Thursday, clashes resumed early Friday west of Goma, at the village of Murambi, less than 30 km from the city. Between this village and Goma is the city of Saké, considered the last barrier on the road to the provincial capital.

“The population is again in psychosis”, declared by telephone to the AFP Léopold Busanga, president of the civil society of Saké.

Further fighting is reported further north, about 70 km from Goma, according to a local official.

After several Announcements of cessation of hostilities have had no effect in recent months, a ceasefire was supposed to come into force on Tuesday.

The day before, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged rebellion to comply with this truce, while on Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Kinshasa, threatened sanctions against the parties to the conflict who ignored this new deadline.

But the guns did not fall silent and the M23 continued to expand its territory.

A UN Security Council delegation arrived in Kinshasa on Thursday evening for a three-day visit to the DRC. She must stay Saturday and Sunday in Goma.