Conflict & Justice

More active, aggressive UN troops shell M23 rebels near Goma


A man takes part in a demonstration on Nov. 27 in front of the UN headquarters in Pretoria against UN peacekeeping troops in Goma failing to protect women and children against the M23 rebels.


Alexander Joe

United Nations troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo have shelled M23 rebels near the city of Goma in response to an attack on the city on Thursday that killed five civilians.

The UN has sent a new “intervention brigade” of 3,000 soldiers from Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa to Congo to neutralize and disarm the rebels, BBC News reported.

According to the Associated Press, the troops have "more aggressive rules of engagement than normally used by UN peacekeeping forces."

The regular UN peacekeeping force in Congo, known as Monusco, has more than 18,000 soldiers and is charged with protecting civilians.

"Fighting has entered a new phase as Monusco is now engaging the rebels together with the government forces," UN spokesman Lt-Col Felix-Prosper Basse told the BBC's Focus on Africa program.

Nearly a dozen mortar shells hit Goma in Thursday’s rebel attack, killing a mother and her three children and wounding nearly a dozen others, Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende told the AP.

On Friday, Congo’s government accused Rwanda of supporting the attack, claiming that most of the shells came from the direction of neighboring Rwanda.

In November, the M23 rebels seized control of Goma, but withdrew in exchange for negotiations with the government.

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