Thousands flee as Goma flares

[video:youtube:3sRxXiBNQSI] Michael Kavanagh is one of a small group of journalists in Goma, the provincial capital of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on the border with Rwanda. Violence flared yesterday when protesters pelted the UN compound in Goma with stones,

“We’re on alert,” Murthy said. “We’re not sure what’s in store for the future, but whatever it is, it’s not good,” said Jaya Murthy, a spokesman for Unicef in Goma. link

Bloomberg’s Franz Wild is in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, and he has more on the attacks,

The National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP, today attacked Kibumba, a village 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of Goma, Colonel Maurice Kanya, a police commander, said on the phone from the province. Yesterday the rebels seized control of Virunga national park, home to the endangered mountain gorilla.
“The CNDP has attacked Kibumba,” he said. “The entire population has left.”
…The United Nations Mission in Congo, or Monuc, will defend Goma against rebel attack, military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Samba Tall said in an interview from Kinshasa, the capital. Monuc, with a contingent of 18,000 members, is the largest UN peacekeeping operation.
“Goma is protected by Monuc,” Tall said. “Nobody will be taking Goma.” link

UPDATE: 10.00 GMT Reuters is reporting that aid workers are to be evacuated from the region,

“The convoy is being prepared now, but hasn’t left yet,” a spokesman for U.N. humanitarian coordination agency OCHA told Reuters of the evacuation plan. “It will leave today. Normally there are around 50 staff in Rutshuru and surrounding areas.” link

The BBC has a slideshow of the situation and the Daily Mail shows AFP pictures, including the one above, of the UN troops under attack from protesters frustrated at their inaction. The Congo army, supported by UN peacekeeping forces, is reportedly drawing back as the BBC’s Thomas Fessy reports of attacks near the Ugandan border town of Rushuru,

He says fighting also broke out on Tuesday morning near the Ugandan border town of Rushuru. At around 0600 local time (0300GMT), Gen Nkunda’s fighters attacked Rubare, near Rushuru which is held by the army. People are reported to be fleeing towards Uganda. link