ICC Closely Monitoring DRC Fighting – Prosecutor

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is closely monitoring fighting in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Hague-based court says in a statement.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

This follows escalation of fighting between the government forces and M23 rebels in North Kivu Province. Government forces on Wednesday captured Bunagana town, the main base of the M23 rebel group at the Ugandan border.

A statement released by the chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda says ICC is monitoring the developments with utmost vigilance. The chief prosecutor says the violence in the region reflects what she called terrible cost of impunity.

M23 political leader Bertrand Bisiimwa crossed into Uganda as Congolese troops advanced on his base. But the M23 spokeperson Amani Kabashe insisted that Bisimwa entered Uganda to attend a peace conference, at the ongoing talks between DRC government and the rebels.

Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) spokesperson Lt. Colonel Paddy Ankunda earlier confirmed that the Ugandan army has two helicopters based at the Bunagana area. He declined to explain their mission in the area.

At least 800,000 people have been left homeless since the conflict started in April 2012. About 10,000 people fled to Uganda this week, with about half of them arriving on Wednesday, according to Lucy Beck, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

On Monday, the UN special envoy to DR Congo, Martin Kobler, said the M23 was all but finished as a military threat in DR Congo.

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