Monday, November 17, 2008

Nkunda Breaks Ceasefire, Advances North

Both AP and Reuters are reporting that Nkunda's troops overrran a small government-controlled military base in Rwindi, 130 kilometers north of Goma, on Sunday night. The Congolese army abandoned the post in the face of small arms fire and long-range heavier caliber weapons. The AP quotes U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Col. Jean-Paul Dietrich: "The [rebels] are continuing their offensive further north. This shows they're not respecting their own cease-fire they've declared." AP reports that the UN troops in the area stayed at their base during the fighting, and refused to let fleeing Congolese join them in their bunkers. Reuters reports that fleeing Congolese troops shed their uniforms and boots on the way out of town, and adds this resonant detail:
A U.N. official told Reuters that the retreating Congolese government soldiers at Rwindi destroyed ammunition and a rocket launcher by setting them on fire causing explosions and rockets to fire in the direction of U.N. peacekeepers, wounding one.

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