DR Congo's M23 rebels pledge to retreat from key position

AFP , Friday 23 Dec 2022

DR Congo's M23 rebels, who have seized swathes of territory in the east of the country, pledged Friday to retreat from a strategic frontline position near the city of Goma.

EAC forces
File Photo: East African Community (EAC) force soldiers drive on a vehicle in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on December 2, 2022. AFP


A Tutsi-led group, the M23 rebel group re-emerged from dormancy late last year and has since advanced across the country's troubled North Kivu province, and caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee in fear.

In a statement Friday, the M23 announced that it would withdraw from its position in the town of Kibumba -- about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Goma, a commercial hub of over one million people.

Kibumba lies on the current frontline between the M23 and Congolese troops, on a key highway leading to the city.

The M23 stated it was handing Kibumba over to the East African Community's military force as a "goodwill gesture" in line with recent peace talks in Angola's capital Luanda.

It urged the Democratic Republic of Congo's government to "grab this opportunity with both hands".

The DRC has accused its smaller central African neighbour Rwanda of backing the group, something which Kigali denies.

But the United States and France, among other Western countries as well as United Nations experts, agree with the DRC's assessment.

Talks between the DRC and Rwanda in the Angolan capital Luanda unlocked a truce agreement on November 23.

Under the deal, the M23 was meant to lay down arms, then pull back from occupied territories. The rebels remained in their positions, however.

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