Kinshasa (Fides Service) – Tension is still high in North Kivu, in the eastern part of Democratic Congo DRC, where rebels of the Congolese Group for Democracy (RCD-Goma) have declared a unilateral cease-fire. Local sources contacted by Fides Service say the rebels are only an hour’s march from Butembo, the main city in the region, and they show no signs of withdrawing. “Fighting may be resumed at any moment” say Fides Service sources.
In the past few days the RCD-Goma made an amazing advance into the heart of Kivu taking among other things the town of Lubero, about 100 km away from Butembo.
Ulterior confirmation of the existing tension is the deployment of Ugandan troops in the Ugandan town of Mbarara, on the border with the DRC. The Ugandans had withdrawn from Congo, at the end of April, under an agreement with the Kinshasa government. But seeing the RCD-Goma advance with the support of Rwanda, Uganda, obviously fearing for its own interests in the DRC, is sending a signal that certain limits must not be overstepped.
Both Uganda and Rwanda are interested in Congo’s immense resources, diamonds, timber, coltan and oil. For its part the Kinshasa government wants to keep control of the resources in the area. Recently, only days ago, Fides sources say, the DRC government signed an agreement with a Canadian oil company for the exploitation of oil in the eastern part of the country.
In the meantime, further north in Ituri, operations by the European peacekeeping force continue in Bunia. French troops, the largest European contingent, are meeting resistance and are repeatedly attacked. A French helicopter was forced to land after being targeted by firearms. LM (Fides Service 20/6/2003 EM lines 29 Words: 232)