New York - UN leader Ban Ki-moon said on Friday that
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rebels have fired shells into neighbouring
Rwanda, launching into a dispute that has heightened tensions between the two
Ban also said "spoilers" encouraging mounting
violence in eastern DRC must be held to account, but he did not follow other UN
officials in naming Rwanda as a backer of the rebels.
Rwanda has said DRC government forces fighting M23 rebels
in the east of the giant country have fired into its territory, and called the
acts "a provocation”.
Rwanda says a woman was killed in shelling from DR Congo
Ban blamed the M23 rebels in a statement released by his
spokesperson Martin Nesirky.
Ban is "deeply concerned about the escalating
violence" and "condemns in particular the indiscriminate shelling by
the M23 that caused deaths, injuries and damage among the civilian population
in the eastern DRC and in the immediate border area in Rwanda, as well as among
United Nations peacekeepers”, said Nesirky.
The UN leader also "emphasises that spoilers and
those who violate international law must be held accountable”, the spokesperson
Calls for restraint
While he did not identify the "spoilers", Ban
"calls on all regional actors concerned to exercise utmost restraint and
refrain from any acts or statements that could lead to a further deterioration”,
"He also calls on all member states with influence
in the region to assist in easing tensions."
UN experts say Rwanda has backed M23 and a top UN
official told the Security Council that Rwandan troops have helped M23 in their
latest offensive against government forces around the eastern city of Goma.
Assistant UN secretary general Edmond Mulet also said UN
forces had seen M23 rebels firing into nearby Rwanda, according to diplomats
who attended the closed Security Council meeting on Thursday.
The UN has deployed a special intervention brigade to
back the government army and Ban stressed, "that the United Nations
remains committed to taking all necessary actions to protect civilians in the
eastern DRC", said the spokesperson.
The surge in fighting is a serious challenge to Ban's new
campaign to organise a political settlement to end more than a decade of strife
in eastern DRC, which has dragged in many of its neighbours.