Friday, July 27, 2012

Terrible News: M23 seize Rumangabo

Dr Emmanuel de Merode with Ranger Innocent

Terrible news was logged this morning by Dr de Merode under the title "Rumangabo under Rebel Control, Rwindi Under Attack" (as my Mail to Blogger has a glitch, I can't publish as many posts as previously; I'm posting this from a cybercafe):

"Yesterday the fighting was short and very violent. Initially, there was sporadic bombing with two tanks and the 12-tube multiple rocket launchers firing from the gate. We were able to convince the officers not to place their artillery pieces within the station. At about 3pm the first rebel units arrived. For twenty minutes, the violence swept across our headquarters. M23 and the army were intermingled amongst the station buildings. Mortar fire, thankfully, was short lived and our security measures held, with staff and animals secured behind sandbags and in trenches. Unfortunately the cell phone tower was hit, so we’re without phone communications, but otherwise everything including morale remains intact.

Rwindi in the central sector of the park is under strain. We have had no communications with Rodrigue since last night, when he called in to report on developments. The station is once again occupied by thousands of fleeing troops. Rebels have reached Mabenga, right on the edge of the park and appear to be progressing towards Rwindi. We’ve evacuated all staff families and much of the equipment. If the situation becomes critical, Rodrigue will march his men through the night and establish a temporary command centre 60 kilometres away in Lulimbi.

 Despite the violence, and the chaos of battle, both sides have been remarkably respectful of the parks’ staff and our installations. Today, everything seems eerily quiet."

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