Rebel M23 condemns bombardments by DR Congo army

A government army tank in Munigi, on the outskirts of Goma in the east of the DR Congo. M23 has condemned the resumption of bombardments against its positions by the army in North Kivu. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

Rebel forces are reportedly approaching Goma and exchanging fire even with the UN peacekeeping mission.

KINSHASA

The rebel March 23 Movement (M23) has condemned the resumption of bombardments against its positions by the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) amid an escalation of conflict in recent days in the troubled eastern province of North Kivu.

"As usual, we believe that our troops will have to retaliate against the attacks very soon," the M23 said in a statement sent to Xinhua on Monday, in reference to the shelling by the DR Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) and its allies along the Kanyaruchinya-Goma road.

The provincial capital Goma has again hit headlines with the rebel forces reportedly approaching the town and exchanging fire even with the UN peacekeeping mission.

The rebel group briefly occupied Goma in late November last year, before pulling out under the pressure of the 11-member bloc of the Great Lakes countries for talks.

WORSENING SITUATION

The worsening situation this year around Goma, which is near the border with Rwanda, is stoking tensions between the two neighboring countries, which since the 1990s accused each other of involvement of attacks.

The M23 statement warned that it holds the government entirely responsible for all the consequences from the fighting.

Since Aug. 21, the M23 and FARDC being supported by the United Nations intervention brigade have been fighting 15 km from the town of Goma, leaving 15 civilians dead and several others injured. The casualties were reportedly caused by explosives thrown into the town.

The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), which was routed out in early 2009. Some CNDP fighters were then integrated into the army, before launching a new rebellion in April 2012, citing the failure of the government to implement the peace accord signed on March 23, 2009 between the two sides. (Xinhua)

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