Death Toll From Strikes On Eastern Congo IDP Camps Rises To 18

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The United Nations Humanitarian Agency, OCHA has said eighteen people were killed and 32 wounded on Friday when at least five rockets fell on camps sheltering displaced people around the eastern Congolese city of Goma.

The UN agency had earlier updated that the death toll was 12.

The deaths illustrate the worsening humanitarian fallout from the two-year conflict between Congolese forces and the Rwanda-backed rebel group M23, which has moved closer to Goma in recent months, prompting thousands to seek refuge in the city.

Democratic Republic of Congo and the United States have said the attacks were launched from territory held by Rwandan troops and M23.

Rwanda, which denies backing M23, has blamed militias loyal to Congo for the assault.

OCHA said in a statement that most of those killed in the rocket strikes were women and children. One more woman was killed during a protest at one camp after the attacks, it said.

“We are the losers. My sister has left a baby behind,” said Nzambonimpa Hitimana, the brother of the woman who died during the demonstration by residents against the growing insecurity.

“Our army is not doing enough to drive out the enemy. The worst thing is that they place their big guns not far from our camps,” he told Reuters at one of the camps that was hit.

The situation in Goma has been calm so far this week, but fighting between M23 and the so-called Wazalendo alliance of armed groups loyal to the government continued on Monday in nearby Masisi territory around the town of Bitonga, according to one military source and two local sources.