The Council will meet this afternoon (Tuesday, 10 July) to discuss recent developments in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). At press time, arrangements were being made to have the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MONUSCO, Roger Meece, brief by video-link. Although a draft text has not been circulated to Council members, a press statement addressing the situation is a possibility following the meeting.
Council members have been following the activities of the M23 rebel group which defected from their positions in the Congolese army in April. (On 6 July the Council issued a press statement [SC/10702] condemning recent attacks by the M23 group which resulted in the death of an Indian UN peacekeeper and the displacement of thousands of civilians and casualties within the DRC forces.)
Council members are likely to be keen on obtaining more information on the rebel group’s latest incursion. According to media reports, on Sunday the M23 rebel group entered the town of Rutshuru in North Kivu unopposed after witnesses said government soldiers abandoned their positions. This comes days after the M23 fighters apparently seized the mineral transit town of Bunagana, just 70 km to the south of Goma, the provincial capital.
A spokesman for MONUSCO—the UN mission in the DRC—told the media that the group had reportedly moved out of these towns unilaterally this morning. Apparently MONUSCO has received unconfirmed reports of human rights violations and other crimes committed in areas where the M23 are present and that the mission has provided operational planning and logistical support to the FARDC to help counter the M23 offensive.
The possible connection between the M23 and Rwanda may also come up during the briefing. An addendum to a recent report by the Group of Experts of the DRC Sanctions Committee has asserted that the rebels are being supported by Rwandan officials (S/2012/348/Add.1).
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