Army claims to be there to insure calm; major general slated to be arrested by International Criminal Court; following compatriot's conviction over child soldier recruitment
Defence Web | 'Congo sends troops to east after mutiny and clashes' by Reuters at Tuesday, 10 April 2012 10:16
"Congo's army has despatched hundreds of reinforcements to the east of the country after hundreds of soldiers abandoned their posts and at least 10 were killed in clashes between factions within the army, officials said.
The troubled Kivu provinces have been in a state of high alert since the weekend after troops linked to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda - now a general in the Congolese army - started abandoning their posts amid rumours of his imminent arrest for alleged war crimes.
Ntaganda is wanted by the International Criminal Court and Congo has come under pressure to arrest him. But Kinshasa has so far refused, saying his influence with former rebels remains central to maintaining the relative peace in the east, Reuters reports.
A Reuters witness at Goma's airport saw hundreds of soldiers arriving by plane late on Wednesday but it was not immediately clear where they would be deployed to.
A spokesman for the army in Goma said the troops were there to restore calm. "They are not here to create war, but to prevent it," Major Olivier Hamuli told Reuters.
The authorities in Kinshasa said on Thursday a "madness" had swept the troubled eastern provinces in recent days, and called for "out of control" soldiers to return to order."