UN says peacekeepers in rebel-overrun Congo city holding fire to avoid starting battle

A U.N. spokesman says nearly 1,500 U.N. peacekeepers in the eastern Congo city overrun by M23 rebel forces are holding fire to avoid triggering a battle.

The deputy spokesman for the secretary-general said Tuesday that the peacekeepers "cannot substitute for the efforts of national forces" in Goma, a city of 1 million.

A Congolese military spokesman has expressed frustration over the lack of action by the peacekeepers.

But U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey says, "There has to be a value judgment made. Do you open fire and put civilians at risk, or do you hold your fire, continue your patrols, observe what's happening and remind the M23 that they are subject to international humanitarian and human rights law?"