CNDP rebels have declared a unilateral ceasefire "to avoid panicking the population of Goma."
It's apparently a bit too late for that. Goma was quiet early today, but apparently experienced what one observer called a "stampede" of IDP's and soldiers later on.
- Rwanda continues to deny that it is backing the CNDP. No one I know takes this claim seriously, and the BBC saw cross-border exchanges of fire at Kibumba today.
- CNDP is launching attacks from the IDP camp at Mugunga. Mugunga is on the road between Goma and Sake, very close to Goma.
- The FARDC, which is the national army, appears to be in full retreat to Goma.
- According to last night's MONUC briefing in Goma (which I learned about from a contact), MONUC had some success yesterday in pushing back the rebels. Radio Okapi has a brief note about their advance. Apparently, MONUC has brought in a British colonel who isn't messing around.
- MONUC has withdrawn all its staff to its compound by the lake.
- The humanitarian situation is horrific, and it's only going to get worse.
- The World Food Programme can't deliver anything to rural areas. Fifteen trucks of food are just sitting there.
- The United States government has FINALLY acknowledged what they and everyone else have known for years: that the government of Rwanda provides material support to the CNDP. They say that they don't believe Rwandan troops are in the DRC.
- Here's a great explanation of why the Congolese are so mad at MONUC.
- Heal Africa would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for their staff who are scattered throughout the province. Most are accounted for and safe, but a couple have not been heard from.
What does all this mean? Basically, the CNDP is closing in on Goma, and can probably take it, especially if Rwandan troops are involved. All it will take is one Tutsi civilian being killed in Goma. That gives CNDP and Rwanda their excuse.