Human shields used in Congo fighting: UN

October 30th, 2008 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Oct 30 (DPA) The intensified fighting in North Kivu in Congo involved human shields and could create a “humanitarian crisis of catastrophic dimensions,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said.The fighting between rebel troops and government soldiers could bring “dire consequences” in the region, Ban said Wednesday.

Ban called on governments that have influence on the forces on the ground to try to restore an effective ceasefire and prevent further casualties among the civilian population.

The UN reported the fighting in Goma and attacks on UN peacekeepers and humanitarian workers. The fighting in the last two days has set off a new wave of tens of thousands of refugees.

The UN said civilian human shields were being used and said civilians were being deliberately targeted, but shared no precise information.

“Throughout the last 48 hours, the secretary general has been in contact with key leaders of the region and in the international community to urge immediate steps to halt the fighting,” a UN spokesperson said, adding “he will continue his efforts to this end.”

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