Reports emanating from New York suggest that the 17,000-strong UN force in Congo has not been able to stop the fighting or halt the General Laurent Nkunda led Tutsi rebel advance and the UN Security Council is considering reinforcement.
Mr. Alain Le Roy, UN head of UN peacekeeping operations, has said that there is at the moment only 10 UN soldiers per 10,000 inhabitants in eastern DR Congo. ‘This number is not enough to protect the population from violence perpetrated by rebel groups and the Congolese army.’ he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has made a fresh plea for 3,000 more peacekeepers to be sent to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to reports on the recent fighting between government and rebel troops, it is believed that a quarter of a million people in the strife-torn region around Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, have been displaced.
Earlier, the rebel Congolese general, Laurent Nkunda, said he had formed an alternative administration in the area of eastern Congo that he controls.
In New York, Mr. Ban had called for a ceasefire so that aid workers could urgently help at least 100,000 refugees cut off in rebel-held areas near Goma.
This latest direct challenge to the central government, has seen the government of Joseph Kabila deploy 12 ministers to take responsibility for a range of functions including police and security.
Reports however claim that the move for reinforcement may be pure propaganda. While plans for back-up are underway, Congolese government troops have faced fresh accusations that they have been ransacking villages and raping civilians.
UN spokesman Lt-Col Jean Paul Dietrich said looting began around Kanyabayonga on Monday afternoon and continued through the night. He said UN peacekeepers and the Congolese army had been trying to intervene