UNITED NATIONS, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The M23 rebel group is ignoring the ceasefire starting on Tuesday in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a UN spokesman said.
"Our peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO, indicated that fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group continues in North Kivu province, despite the ceasefire," said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Haq said that the ceasefire complies with recent decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa. Clashes were also reported Monday in parts of Rutshuru and Masisi territories and in the town of Sake.
"The secretary-general reiterates his call on the M23 to respect the ceasefire to create conditions for its full and effective withdrawal from all occupied areas in eastern DRC," the spokesman said, recalling the UN chief's appeal on Monday. "He condemns all violence against civilians and renews his call on all Congolese and foreign armed groups to lay down their weapons and disarm unconditionally."
The role of peacekeepers assigned to the UN mission is to support the Congolese army and protect civilians, MONUSCO chief Bintou Keita has said. ■