UNITED NATIONS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- UN peacekeepers have chased armed rebels from several villages in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a UN spokesman said on Thursday.
Villagers raised warnings over the last few days the rebels were in several villages of Djugu territory in Ituri province, said Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. "UN peacekeepers immediately deployed to the areas, prompting the assailants to flee the scene."
There was no immediate word on casualties.
Haq identified the rebels as members of CODECO.
The CODECO members are a loose association of militia groups called the Cooperative for Development of the Congo.
The spokesman said peacekeepers from the UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, also engaged with communities around Djugu, notably internally displaced persons and youth leaders. It is part of efforts to strengthen protection and early warning mechanisms.
The MONUSCO peacekeepers launched a Joint Assessment and Engagement Mission to Bweremana, close to the town of Sake, in North Kivu province, Haq said.
He said the program follows population displacement caused by another armed rebel group, the M23, displacing the population in Masisi territory.
The spokesman said the peacekeepers met with civilians and local leaders to understand their needs and protection concerns better.
On Monday, the secretary-general's special representative, Bintou Keita, visited Kalehe territory in South Kivu province to see the damage caused by recent torrential rain and heavy flooding, he said.
"She expressed her condolences and solidarity with the government and the affected populations," Haq said. "More than 450 people died in the floods and many more are missing, according to official estimates." ■