DR Congo: Rebel group M23 announces withdrawal from villages it seized in North Kivu province

KINSHASA, The March 23 Movement (M23), a rebel group, announced its withdrawal from the villages it took earlier in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The announcement came after intensified fighting in the past couple of days between the DRC army and the M23 rebels, who had captured several localities in the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu province.

In a statement, the M23 said it has taken “the decision to withdraw, once again, from its newly conquered positions… to allow the management of its concerns through a frank and fruitful dialogue with the Congolese government.”

The M23 “never intended to conquer spaces to rule them… Our only motivation is the peaceful settlement of the crisis” between the group and the Congolese government, the statement said.

Tensions have been on the rise for several weeks in North Kivu between the army and the M23, which has been accused by the army of shooting down a United Nations helicopter on March 29, killing all eight peacekeepers on board.

The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government. M23 leaders have accused the government of failing to respect that agreement.

Source: Nam News Network

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