DRC army seizes M23 stronghold

2013-08-31 11:24
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Cape Town - The Congolese army seized a stronghold of the M23 rebel movement outside the provincial capital Goma, local radio station Radio Okapi reported Saturday.

Government troops backed by a United Nations peacekeeping force took control of Munigi town, about 20km outside Goma, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province.

On Friday, an M23 leader announced the rebels would withdraw from the frontline in eastern Congo to pave the way for a ceasefire, but keep positions near Goma, which borders Rwanda.

The army continued to pursue the M23 throughout their withdrawal, military spokesperson Olivier Hamuli said.

"We are pursuing them to throw them off. We are relieved, especially for the population of Goma, which has been suffering under the bombardments," Hamuli told Radio Okapi.

The M23 - or Movement of March 23 - was formed in 2012 by about 300 soldiers, mainly from the Tutsi community, who deserted.

They cited poor conditions in the army and Kinshasa's unwillingness to implement a peace deal.

In November, the M23 briefly captured Goma, but withdrew when the government agreed to a series of demands, including negotiations.

A peace deal has remained elusive.

Read more on:    m23  |  drc  |  central africa

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