October 30, 2008
Threat of New War Looms in Congo
Rebels have reached the gates of Goma, the provincial capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a new threat of war flared, officials said Thursday.
The escalation of the long-simmering conflict sent tens of thousands of frantic villagers fleeing while government soldiers left their posts and Congolese military commanders reportedly abandoned their troops despite the presence of 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers in the region, The Washington Post reported.
Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda agreed to a "unilateral cease-fire" and told the United Nations his forces would not enter this city of 600,000 people to avoid further panic.
U.N. officials said their over-extended force needs help from a heavily armed multinational force to ensure the safety of Congolese civilians.