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August 24, 2013

M23 rebels and their allies in Rwanda deliberately shelled civilians neighborhoods in Goma on Thursday, Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Friday during a press conference in Kinshasa.

One woman and her three children were killed when mortar shells, which Mr. Mende said came from Rwanda, hit civilian neighborhoods in the eastern Congo city.

“Eleven shells fell early Thursday afternoon in two different neighborhoods in the city of Goma, in particular in the neighborhoods of Katindo Gauche, Murara, Office and in the suburbs of Munigi,” Mr. Mende said.

Mr. Mende said that based on early findings by experts, “the greatest number of mortar shells came from the territory of the Republic of Rwanda, specifically the areas of Mukamira and Rugero on the border district of Rubavu and the locality of Mahuku.” He added that the Congolese government was asking for an explanation from the Rwandan government.

“These heinous attacks deliberately targeted the civilian population of Goma, as actual military clashes between the [Congolese army] and the coalition called M23 took place more than 15 kms from the capital of North Kivu. These are war crimes under international law. The Congolese government calls on the UN and the ICC to treat them as such,” Mr. Mende said.

Mr. Mende said that 17 rebels, including two of their commanders, were killed in a counter-offensive launched by the Congolese army and the new UN intervention brigade.

The “valiant FARDC were also able to destroy the ammunition depot of the M23 in Kibumba that burned throughout the day yesterday, which gives an idea of the volume of supplies that have been sent from Rwanda to help this negative force.”