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Africa

DR Congo rebels threaten to retake Goma

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-03

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebels threatened Saturday to retake the eastern city of Goma if Kinshasa reneged on its pledge to start direct talks. The M23 seized Goma last November and only pulled out under strong international pressure.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebel group warned Saturday that it would not rule out recapturing the main eastern city of Goma if Kinshasa reneged on its pledge to start direct talks.

The M23 seized Goma in November last year and only pulled out under intense international pressure and after Kinshasa promised to discuss the group's grievances.

The Congolese government vowed to start a dialogue during a November 24 summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, an 11-member regional bloc.

Map of the Democratic Republic of Congo
© FRANCE 24

"If the government does not comply..., this allows us to alter our deployment and move positions back to Goma," M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa told AFP in Bunagana, a town on the border with Uganda.

The summit urged the M23 to pull back to positions around 20 kilometres (12 miles) out. The rebels eventually complied and withdrew from the city after occupying it for almost two weeks.

The M23, formed in March 2012 by renegade former rebels who had been integrated into the Congolese regular army, now argues that Kinshasa is refusing to launch direct talks and enforce joint security measures.

"We stuck to the positions we were assigned by the ICGLR. The Goma withdrawal happened," Bisimwa said in Bunagana, an M23 stronghold.

"Yet the deployment of an M23 battalion at Goma airport never happened, nor did the city's demilitarisation," said Bisimwa.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-08-03

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