Just watched BBC this morning, The UN(indian soldiers) camp came under attack from stone throwing mobs blocking the roads yesterday. Showed footage of Indian Tanks, APC's on patrol don't know if they are file images, pretty sure they were images from yesterday. But civilian population are vacating. It is reported that the Rebels are beginning to surround Goma. Indian peacekeepers caught in Congo firing
Zeenews Bureau Army on Congo attack: UN must decide
Goma, Oct 30: Indian peacekeepers deployed in UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) for peacekeeping in that nation came under attack on Wednesday night in the increasing violence between Congolese government forces and rebels in North Kivu, a region where the situation has deteriorated over the past several days.
Commenting on the issue, the Indian Army said on Thursday that the Indian soldiers in DRC are on a United Nations (UN) peace mission, therefore it cannot influence the soldiers. However, the UN Security Council has already been familiarised with the issue, the Army added.
A Lt Colonel and two other personnel of Indian Army in Congo reportedly sustained injuries when a contingent of UN troops was attacked in Congo.
Indian Army is the largest contributor to the 17,000-strong UN force. According to reports, Indian troops were urged to position themselves in North Kivu province from Goma. Two armoured personnel carriers belonging to the Indian troops was attacked with five rockets.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged to end the violence. He further blamed a "collapse in discipline" in units of Congo's armed forces for the escalating looting and attacks on UN and associated personnel in North Kivu.
The Indian Army has reacted to the Indian soldiers being caught in the middle of the escalating conflict in war-torn Congo saying that they have intimated the United Nations mission and its upto them to take action. UN and Congolese rebels in standoff
Lt. Gen SPS Dhillon, Deputy COAS, said, “The attack on our soldiers in Congo has been taken note of at the highest level. We have informed the United Nations Security Council as well. We are awaiting a decision from the UN. This is their mission and we cannot influence our soldiers.”
Meanwhile, a Lt Colonel and two other personnel of Indian Army on a peace mission in Congo were injured when a contingent of UN troops came under attack in Congo. An Indian battalion deployed in UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) for peacekeeping in that nation came under attack in northern Kivu province during a battle between government and rebel forces, sources said in New Delhi.
Five rockets were fired on two armoured personnel carriers belonging to the Indian troops while they were maintaining security for civilians, resulting in injuries to a Lt Col and two other personnel, they said. In the wake of fighting between the government forces and rebels, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has issued an urgent appeal for an end to the conflict.
UN envoy in Congo Alan Doss has demanded more troops to be deployed in the region after heavy fighting between rebels and government forces in eastern Congo, close to the regional capital Goma. Indian Army, which is the largest contributor to the 17,000-strong UN force, is expected to stop any advance by rebels, who have made significant progress in the last two days. Indian troops were asked to deploy themselves from Goma to adjoining North Kivu province, after the Uruguayan battalion deployed in the region fled.
"After the Uruguayan battalion fled, Senegalese troops were deployed there but they also refused. After their refusal, we were asked to go there," the sources said. The government and rebel forces in Congo are locked in an intense artillery barrage just 30-km short of Goma, where government troops are blocking access to the road. The Congolese Army has alleged that it is being attacked by the neighbouring Rwandan army.
Indian Air Force's Mi-35 helicopter gunship’s, under MONUC mission, are also taking part in operations in support of the Congolese national Army’s military operations. Thousands of internally displaced people are rushing towards Goma from places where fighting is going on. MONUC compound also came under attack on Monday from demonstrators, who pelted stones vehicles destroying United Nations property. One civilian was killed during these violent demonstrations.
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Oct 30, 2008 - The leader of Congolese rebels warned UN forces blocking their way to the refugee-swollen city of Goma on Thursday that they would open fire if the UN tried to prevent their takeover of the city.
Around 800 peacekeepers from the UN's MONUC force are the only obstacle to a complete rebel takeover of the strategic eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city after government forces fled the rebel advance on Wednesday.
The UN Security Council has condemned the rebel assault, and begun moves to send troop reinforcements to Goma.
Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda said he wanted to avoid a direct confrontation with UN peacekeepers, but would not shirk a fight for the city if necessary.
"We will respect MONUC. We cannot engage them, but if they shoot at us, they are soldiers, we will have to defend ourselves," he told AFP in a telephone interview conducted in English.
"MONUC cannot refuse me to go to Goma. They are incapable of securing the people of Goma so how can they refuse me to go there."
Nkunda's forces declared a unilateral ceasefire Wednesday after being kept at around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Goma by MONUC helicopter gunships.
UN forces had blocked tens of thousands of people displaced by the fighting from entering Goma, a French aid group said Thursday.
"In Goma, tens of thousands of people fleeing the fighting are trapped at the gates of the city by MONUC," the Secours Catholique said.
The UNHCR said 45,000 displaced people had fled a camp outside the city on Wednesday, panicked by a rushed withdrawal of government forces.
The UN is meanwhile scrambling to bring in extra troops from other parts of eastern DRC.
"We are trying to bring additional troops to protect the civilians in Goma in the coming three to seven days," the head of UN peacekeeping Alain Le Roy told reporters.
The 17,000-strong MONUC has roughly 6,000 troops deployed in Nord-Kivu to bolster weak government forces in their battle with disciplined, Nkunda forces.
France's UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert told reporters that European Union foreign ministers would meet in Brussels Monday to discuss various options to bolster MONUC.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Wednesday that Paris backed sending an EU battle group of up to 1,500 troops to DRC.
This follows a call by DRC President Joseph Kabila for the dispatch of a "multinational force" to beef up MONUC.
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said he was in favour of sending 2,000-3,000 European troops to the conflict-hit area.
"I think that European military action makes sense... Humanitarian corridors need to be opened up and a cease-fire must be respected," De Gucht told the French language Le Soir newspaper.
The city was gripped by chaos Wednesday as government troops and residents scrambled to leave, panicked by the influx of some 20,000 refugees from further north.
Nkunda, speaking from the Masisi district of eastern Congo, where his National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) forces are headquartered, said the inhabitants of Nord-Kivu were still vulnerable to atrocities committed by Congolese forces and an allied Rwandan Hutu rebel group.
He argued he would have to take control of Goma if MONUC proved unable to protect civilians there.
"If MONUC is incapable of securing Goma, then I have to," Nkunda said.
The 15-member UN Security Council unanimously adopted a non-binding statement late Wednesday that condemns moves by ethnic Tutsi warlord Nkunda's forces and "demands that it brings its operations to an end."
It also expressed concern at "reports (of) heavy weapons fire across the Democratic Republic of Congo-Rwanda border."
Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of backing Nkunda while Kigali has repeatedly demanded that the DRC disarm Rwandan rebels believed to have played an important in the 1994 genocide against Rwanda's Tutsi minority.