UN Council to hold emergency DR Congo talks
The UN Security Council was to meet in an emergency session yesterday after UN attack helicopters launched missions against rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, diplomats said.
France's UN mission announced on its Twitter account that it had called for a meeting of the 15-nation body on the offensive launched by M23 rebels and that talks would start at 3:00pm (2000 GMT).
The UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, said in a statement that M23 rebels had launched an offensive with "heavy weapons" early Saturday and that it had put peacekeepers into action as part of its mandate to "protect civilians."
"As part of this, 10 missions were carried out by its attack helicopters," the statement said.
The attack helicopters, provided by Ukraine, were put on standby on Friday after M23, former government troops who launched a mutiny in March, launched a surprise attack against the army just north of the Nord Kivu provincial capital of Goma.
The new fighting is concentrated around the town of Kibumba, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Goma.
"MONUSCO is following the situation closely and will not tolerate any advance or action by M23 troops which would provoke panic in the civilians population," said the UN mission's statement.