The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has vowed to protect the North Kivu Provincial capital of Goma from the advancing M23 rebels.
In a statement released on Thursday morning, the Mission’s spokesperson Colonel Abdoul N’diaye says Monusco would do all it can to avoid a repeat of what took place eight months ago. In November 2012, M23 rebels captured Goma despite the presence of thousands of UN troops and the Congolese Government forces. The rebels only withdrew after pressure from regional countries under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
Colonel N’diaye revealed that he is optimistic saying that they are deploying heavily to avert a possible advance of the rebels who are now reported to be two kilometers away from Goma. He says there is a clear and more organized plan of deployment adding that it would also be executed carefully for the good of the people living in city.
He says that according the situation on the ground, clashes between the government forces and the M23 rebels are likely to take place soon.
N’diaye further reveals that the intervention Brigade will also not hesitate to attack the rebels saying their mission is not only to secure Goma but also follow up all the armed groups and make sure they are neutralized.
However, the M23 rebels refer to their advance as a move to protect their territory and that they will not accept to lose any territory to the Congolese government. Colonel Kazarama, the M23 rebel spokesperson, says they are ready to fight the enemy and push the same enemy away.
Recently the rebels have increased their presence in the areas of Kibati, Munigi and Mugunga raising tensions of possible clashes and forcing the locals to flee their homes.