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Thousands flee as Goma falls to rebels
21 November 2012

Up to 100,000 people have been displaced after the M23 group of rebels took the city of Goma in eastern DR Congo.

Following weeks of fighting between the Congolese army and militia soldiers across the North Kivu province, the regional capital was finally taken at the start of this week. While the forces loyal to President Kabila in Kinshasha did not put any resistance as M23 troops entered the city, Gorilla Organization staff in Goma have reported that the end of the weeks-long siege was far from peaceful, with mortars being fired into residential areas, terrifying innocent civilians, including children.

According to the latest reports from Goma, tens of thousands of men, women and children are currently fleeing the area, with many having left behind all their possessions and heading towards large refugee camps situated across the border in Rwanda. And while the vast majority are in desperate need of food, shelter and material assistance, most humanitarian agencies have evacuated their staff for security reasons.

"The situation is desperately worrying," said Jillian Miller, executive director of the Gorilla Organization. "Goma was already home to thousands and thousands of vulnerable people and, over these past few days, the problem has become so worse. We're terribly worried about our wonderful and dedicated team in the city and

Speaking from neighbouring Uganda, the Gorilla Organization's Sam Nsingwire said: "Here in Kisoro, things are calm. We have seen some refugees pass our Resource Centre, but for now, it's business as usual. However, we are all so very worried about our colleagues in DR Congo. They are in the middle of a battlefield."

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for further information or photographs contact:

David Hewitt, Communications Manager
The Gorilla Organization, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8HX
Tel: 020 7916 4974
Mobile: 07801 971123
david@gorillas.org
www.gorillas.org