Fierce fighting in rebel-held DRC town

2012-11-22 15:47
M23. (AFP)

M23. (AFP)

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Accra - Fighting broke out in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo town of Sake on Thursday between M23 rebels and government troops reportedly supported by militias, prompting many civilians to flee the area.

Sake is located about 30km west of Goma, the regional capital of North Kivu province that was taken by M23 rebels earlier this week.

"People told me that there is fighting now in Sake ... it is the [DRC army] FARDC mixed with Mai Mai fighters against M23," Jonas Habimana, a member of the charity World Vision, said from Goma.

UN refugee agency staff Simplice Kpandji, speaking from Kinshasa, confirmed that there was fighting in Sake, adding that "people are fleeing to come into Goma".

Since the beginning of the fighting in mid-November, about 100 000 people have fled to the regional capital, he said.

Rich in natural resources

M23 rebels on Tuesday seized control of Goma from government troops backed by UN peacekeepers after days of fighting. The rebels are fighting for control of the east of the country, which is rich in natural resources.

The rebels in Goma have asked people to join them in their fight against President Joseph Kabila's government in Kinshasa.

Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda's leaders late on Wednesday called on the M23 rebels to retreat from Goma.

Rwanda and Uganda have been accused of supporting the M23, which was founded this year by former rebels who had been integrated into the army in 2009 and now claim the government has failed to uphold its commitments under the peace deal.

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