MONUC denounces coalition between Mayi-Mayi and Rwandan rebels

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), MONUC, has denounced a coalition formed by Congolese Mayi-Mayi militia and Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR), targeted by the national army in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.



Jean-Paul Dietrich, MONUC's military spokesman, told a news conference in Goma - capital of North Kivu - that several reports had revealed collaboration between the FDLR and some Mayi-Mayi militia groups.



He said the Alliance des patriots pour un Congo libre et démocratique (APCLS) and les Patriotes résistants congolais (PARECO), which are active in Nyabiondo, south of Lubero in North Kivu, were some of the Mayi-Mayi groups collaborating with the FDLR.



"Many elements of the Mayi-Mayi groups and PARECO were seen fighting alongside the FDLR," said Dietrich, referring to operations launched by the national army on 24 June against the FDLR in several villages, including Chanika in Lubero territory.



Dietrich said 13 bodies of Mayi-Mayi militiamen killed during these operations were found.



Fighting between the army and Mayi-Mayi elements resulted in seven militia deaths in the village of Misau, 20km southwest of Pinga, Dietrich said. The FDLR and their allies also attacked the army, killing two soldiers and wounding several more, he added.



He said MONUC had identified 25 huts burned during an attack on the village of Kisheguru, 17km from Kiwanja, in Rutshuru territory.



"MONUC intervened to prevent fire from burning down the whole village," Dietrich said.



Attacks and counterattacks have also occurred in South Kivu Province.



According to Human Rights Watch, rights violations have increased in eastern Congo since the beginning of military operations against the FDLR and rebels of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).



HRW said LRA and FDLR reprisals against civilians had increased.



"The FDLR and their allies have been involved in a lot of fairly serious crimes," Anneke van Woudenberg, HRW's senior researcher on the DRC, told IRIN. "Human Rights Watch has [evidence that] not only the FDLR but also their allies … are responsible for war crimes."



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