The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Wednesday condemned the "cowardly terror tactics" employed by an armed group from Rwanda, which has caused havoc in the eastern part of the African nation for years.
The Forces Democratiques pour la Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR) is conducting a campaign of terror, systematically raping, murdering, looting and abducting civilians in an attempt to undermine the joint Rwanda/DRC military offensive aimed at ridding the group from the DRC, the mission known by its French acronym MONUC said in a statement.
"MONUC condemns these cowardly terror tactics," the mission said, adding that the tactics used by the group were aimed at frustrating efforts at restoring state authority to its former strongholds.
The mission has boosted its efforts to protect and reassure threatened populations, mostly in North Kivu province where some 250,000 civilians have been uprooted by fighting between Hutu groups, a mainly Tutsi group known as the CNDP, the government army and others since August.
The mission has intensified patrols in a bid to prevent the FDLR from committing atrocities against the civilian population.
Congolese army troops have also been deployed in several sensitive zones where MONUC has operational bases to further bolster the protection of civilians.