Rwanda and the DRC have been urged to urgently take steps to de-escalate the situation. / Photo: Reuters

Special Representative of the UN’s Peacekeeping Operation, MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo, General Bintou Keita has raised concerns over the expansion of M23 paramilitary group in the DRC.

Keita says M23 continues to gain grounds despite the collaborative operations of MONUSCO in support of the DRC Army and the SADC mission known as SAMIDRC.

Keita told the UN Security Council on Wednesday they were "witnessing one of the most severe, complex, and neglected humanitarian crises of our time in the eastern DRC,” following escalating violence.

Some 7.3 million people, the vast majority in the east of the country, have been displaced, according to the UN.

'Alarming levels'

“The security situation in eastern DRC has continued to deteriorate, reaching alarming levels of violence and civilian displacements. I am extremely concerned about the rapid expansion of the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23) in North Kivu and the spillover into South Kivu,” said Keita.

South African soldiers deployed as part of SAMIDRC were ambushed earlier this month in Sake, North Kivu, by M23 rebels who killed two SANDF soldiers while injuring more than 20.

Rwanda and the DRC have been urged to urgently take steps to de-escalate the situation, with Kinshasa’s envoy Ambassador, Zenon Ngay Mukongo, calling for sanctions to be imposed on its neighbour.

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s envoy, Ambassador Ernest Rwamucyo, accused SAMIDRC, a force operating at the invitation of the DRC government, of not being neutral in the conflict, accusing it of fighting alongside the DRC’s national army.

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TRT Afrika and agencies