M23 rebels recruit 59 child soldiers

Kinshasa - The military spokesperson for the United Nations mission in Congo says at least 59 minors were recruited by the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo, continuing a pattern of enlisting child soldiers that stretches back to the time when the fighters were led by accused war criminal General Bosco Ntaganda.

Felix Prosper said the children and teens were recruited in Katale, north of the city of Goma. Prosper did not specify a time frame. Ntaganda, who briefly led the M23 movement, was transferred to the International Criminal Court in March for allegedly using child soldiers a decade ago when he headed a now-defunct rebel group.

M23 spokesperson Colonel Vianney Kazarama denied the accusation, saying journalists have visited M23's base of operations "and have never seen a minor in our ranks."

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