M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Tuesday they would end their insurgency, hours after the country's communications minister declared "total victory" over the rebellion following a final government offensive on their strongholds.
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced Tuesday that it had achieved "total victory" over M23 rebels, but the army declined to give immediate confirmation.
"The last elements of the M23 have abandoned their positions in Runyonyi and Chanzu under pressure from FARDC (government forces) who have just entered there," said the country's communications minister and government spokesman in a text message received by AFP in Kiwanja, a town near the fighting.
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He was referring to two hilltop positions about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of regional capital Goma, where dozens of rebels had dug in.
Contacted by AFP, General Lucien Bahuma, army commander in Nord Kivu province, was more cautious, saying: "I cannot confirm that for the moment."
Another Congolese army officer said he heard that "the M23 had scarpered".
"They burned 42 vehicles and their munitions depots, they took off in all directions, each for himself and God for all," he said, adding that "the fighting had lasted all night".
On Monday the UN special force in eastern DR Congo joined in direct combat with the besieged M23 rebels, throwing its weight behind the Congolese army's crushing assault launched late last month in a bid to finally end the rebellion.
A conflict fuelled by natural wealth
Date created : 2013-11-05