the latest from goma, ctd.
By most accounts, Goma is calm today after a rough night. Here's the latest:
- The night was bad in Goma, with gunshots and looting. The stores are empty because they were looted, and the city's Tutsis mostly left for Gisenyi, Rwanda. Radio Okapi reports nine deaths and three women raped.
- Here's a first-person account from a Congolese humanitarian aid worker of just how bad it was in Goma last night.
- The rebels basically reached the edge of Goma, but have yet to enter the city. That, or they're a few kilometers out. They won the fight. The army is in total disarray and have all run. The UN says they will defend the city from Nkunda but will not fight the Rwandans if they cross in.
- Be sure you read this article. It has the most heartbreaking cry from a mother who lost one of her babies in the flight.
- There's been no fighting on the fronts in Goma today. CNDP announced that it will allow humanitarian corridors on all the major roads so that displaced individuals may return home.
- Scroll down here to listen to a BBC interview with Laurent Nkunda, commander of the CNDP. You can hear his crazy logic as to why he's fighting the UN forces. He says he wants to negotiate directly with the government.
- FARDC troops (the national army) have made their own contributions to the instability. They looted Mugunga IDP camp last night, and tried to commandeer the ambulance from Heal Africa.
- Nkunda says that if MONUC prevents him from entering the city, he'll resume fighting. There are 800 MONUC troops in Goma. The city has a population of around 600,000, not counting the IDP's, and is spread out over a large area. MONUC has helicopter gunships, which is the only reason they've kept Goma safe.
- The EU is "considering options" to help out. Translation: French Prime Minister Bernard Kouchner won't get 1500 EU troops in there anytime soon. Given how much the Rwandans hate the French, French or French-led action could seriously destabilize the situation even further.
- Humanitarian aid workers and operations have largely pulled out. The World Food Programme was able to distribute food to hospitals and nutrition centers in Goma yesterday, thankfully.
- Some Heal Africa staff are trapped in a CNDP-controlled area. They have not been allowed into the MONUC compound there because they are not on the priority list. They are Congolese.