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Uganda convenes meeting to discuss Congo crisis

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By Moses Odokonyero

September 2, 2013 (KAMPALA) - Uganda has called an emergency meeting of the extraordinary summit of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to discuss the deteriorating security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The meeting scheduled for 5 September in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, is expected to be attended by the 11 members of the ICGLR.

“Following the deteriorating situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the recent days resulting in the death and injury of peace keepers from the Force Intervention Brigade, Uganda, as chair of the ICGLR felt it was very urgent to convene an extraordinary summit on 5 September 2013 composed of 11 member states”, read a statement released on Saturday by Uganda’s ministry of foreign affairs.

The statement said the ICGLR meeting is an attempt by member states to bring parties in the conflict to the round table for a lasting peace in not only the DRC but also the Great Lakes region as a whole.

Last week witnessed fierce fighting between the M23 rebels and the DRC army supported by a UN brigade mandated to use force.

The United Nations and the DRC accuse Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels. Rwanda denies the charge, saying lawless eastern Congo is used as a haven for rebels fighting the Kigali government.

Uganda on the other hand is fearful of a further influx of Congolese refugees putting its already strained public facilities under even more pressure. In July, 67,000 Congolese fled into Uganda following outbreak of violence in eastern Congo prompting Uganda’s foreign ministry to say it was “alarmed by the influx”.

Despite the rebels announcing a ceasefire on Friday last week, media reports say there was renewed fighting in eastern Congo over the weekend.

A UN brigade, which has been fighting alongside the Congolese army, says it was not involved in the weekend fighting.

(ST)

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