Kinshasa - M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo
are enforcing a curfew in areas under their control, the UN peacekeeping
mission said on Wednesday, calling the move "completely
Monusco spokesperson Felix Basse said the UN troops were
monitoring the situation in the area of the resource-rich east of the country
controlled by the rebels during the current lull in fighting.
"At the moment, it is time to consolidate the positions
recovered by the army pending further actions in the future," said Basse.
"The M23, which in practice controls the territory of
Rutshuru [north of Goma]," has "imposed a curfew on civilians,"
said the Senegalese officer.
He said this was "completely unacceptable" and the
situation was "being monitored by UN troops until future action".
The UN Special Envoy Mary Robinson said on Wednesday she
believed discussions between Kinshasa and the rebels could yet succeed in
bringing an end to attacks on civilians in the region.
The negotiations, which opened in December in Kampala and
have been suspended since May, were not "at an impasse," said
Robinson during a press conference in the Congolese capital.
The former Irish president told the audience she believed a
solution would be found, but admitted she was "a bit frustrated" with
the progress so far.
The rebels, who seized Goma for 12 days in November before
withdrawing to the surrounding hills under international pressure, retreated this
week to around 30km north of the city in the face of a new UN-backed offensive
by the army.
The M23 was launched by Tutsi soldiers who mutinied from the
army in April 2012 and turned their guns on their former comrades.
The UN and the Kinshasa government accuse neighbouring
Rwanda of supporting the rebels, a charge Kigali denies.
The latest comments came as defence chiefs and foreign
ministers from Africa's Great Lakes region met in Uganda in the latest bid to
end the fighting in DRC.
Congolese troops, backed by a special United Nations force,
launched a fresh assault against the M23 army mutineers in the turbulent
North-Kivu province late last month
On Friday, the rebels retreated to Kibumba, some 30km north
of Goma, the capital of the mineral-rich province of North Kivu.
Although there has been no fighting since Sunday, a
high-ranking army officer told AFP on Monday that an offensive on Kibumba was
planned "in the near future". He added that army positions were
within two kilometres of the town.
Army spokesperson Olivier Hamuli said the goal was to
"consolidate" positions it had gained in the East, "knowing that
Rwanda is behind" the M23.