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Published:May 31st, 2009 14:35 EST
UN Assists Congo Military In Offensive Against Hutu Rebels

UN Assists Congo Military In Offensive Against Hutu Rebels

By SOP newswire3

30 May 2009 " The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced on Saturday that it is supporting Congolese government forces (FARDC) in an ongoing effort to flush out an ethnic Hutu militia, committing atrocities against civilians in the east of the vast African country.

The UN blue helmet operation in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, has helped the FARDC plan an attack against the notorious Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and supplied support units, the mission said in a news release.

The offensive, launched on Thursday, involved an aerial manoeuvre targeting the Lubero Territory in the embattled North Kivu province, where FDLR fighters have been operating since the end of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that left around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead.

The FDLR, the target of a joint DRC-Rwandan military operation since January, known as Kimia II, has been retaliating against civilians and attacking villages in North Kivu, committing rape and other human rights abuses which have forced close to 400,000 people from their homes, according to recent reports from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

MONUC said that the objective of this latest operation, led by the Congolese army, is to put pressure on the FDLR and prevent threats against vulnerable populations in the area, adding that the success of the strike will be determined at a later date.