DRC announces gains in offensive against rebels

2015-03-02 17:23

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Goma - The Congolese army has killed 14 rebels and captured 102 in its offensive in the east of the country, a government spokesperson said on Monday, announcing territorial gains.

The offensive was launched nearly a week ago after rebels belonging to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) failed to honour a deadline to disarm.

Witnesses have reported fighting near the borders of Rwanda and Uganda.

Army commander Bruno Mandevu said the army had taken territory inside Virunga National Park as well as Tongo Hill, which the rebels had held for more than 15 years.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende said weapons had been seized.

The government earlier said that 75 rebels had surrendered.

The UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have declined to support the military operation because two army generals are suspected of human rights abuses.

The FDLR includes Rwandan Hutus involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, which killed 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

A Tutsi-led government then took power in Rwanda and many Hutus fled to neighbouring DRC.

The FDLR is estimated to number about 1 400 fighters.

Dozens of armed groups are creating instability in eastern DRC, where they compete for control over the region's rich mineral resources.

Read more on:    drc  |  rwanda  |  east africa  |  central africa

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