Kinshasa, 14 July 2013 –In the afternoon of 14 July, heavy fighting broke out in Mutaho, 8 km NW of Goma, after an FARDC position in the locality was attacked by a significant group of the M-23. The attack occurred after the M23 had reinforced its positions around Kibati, close to Mutaho, earlier in the day, including with heavy artillery and a battle tank.
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) expresses deep concern over this development and calls for restraint to avoid a further escalation of the situation.
“I call on all to abide by the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement and to allow the political process towards peace to move forward’’, said the acting Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC, Moustapha Soumaré. “ I urge all signatories of the PSC Framework to exercise their influence in order to avoid an escalation of the situation”, he added.
MONUSCO has put its troops on high alert and stand ready to take any necessary measures, including the use of lethal force, in order to protect civilians. Any attempt by the M23 to advance toward Goma will be considered a direct threat to civilians.