‘‘We are waiting for orders now. We don’t know what we are supposed to do. It’s hard. My comrades who defected in Goma, we’re going to fight them,’’ said a Congolese army major reached by phone in Kanyabayonga, northwest of Goma, where some of the troops have regrouped. The major required anonymity because of the uncertain situation.
The U.N. has its largest peacekeeping force in the world in Congo, with 18,000 troops, known by their acronym MONUSCO. But the 1,500 peacekeepers in Goma did not help the Congo government troops forces during Tuesday’s battle because they do not have a mandate to engage the rebels, said Congolese military spokesman Olivier Hamuli, who expressed frustration over the lack of action by the peacekeepers.
A U.N. spokesman in New York said the peacekeepers in Goma held their fire to avoid triggering a battle.
On Wednesday, the Security Council was expected to review the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo. A resolution adopted Tuesday by the Security Council asks the U.N. secretary-general to recommend possible redeployment, and possible ‘‘additional force multipliers.’’
The resolution approved unanimously by the council imposes targeted sanctions, including a travel ban and assets freeze on the M23 rebel group leadership. But it did not name two countries accused by Congo of supporting the rebels: Rwanda and Uganda.
The council demanded that the M23 rebels withdraw from Goma, disarm and disband, and insisted on the restoration of the crumbing Congolese government authority in the country’s turbulent east.
Associated Press reporter Rodney Muhumuza in Kampala, Uganda contributed to this report.