DR Congo Rebels Take Town Near Uganda Border

Posted July 6th, 2012 at 12:30 pm (UTC-5)
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A U.N. peacekeeper has been killed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where rebels fought government troops and seized a key border crossing Friday.

A spokesman for the U.N. mission in Congo says a peacekeeper from India was hit and killed during fighting in the town of Bunagana, near the Ugandan border.

Vianney Kazarama, a spokesman for the rebel group M23, told VOA Friday that the town is in rebel hands.

“We control Bunagana,” he said. “Congloese forces fled, and now we have many heavy weapons and jeeps.” He also said the DRC's government must negotiate with the group.

M23 is comprised of former soldiers who mutinied earlier this year, complaining about their treatment in the army.

They are believed to be loyal to Bosco Ntaganda, a militia leader wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

Congo's government had tried to integrate Ntaganda's men into the armed forces as part of efforts to bring calm to the country's volatile eastern provinces.

Rwanda has denied charges, contained in a recent United Nations report, that it is providing material and financial support to the M23 movement. Last week, the United States called on Rwanda to end such support to the rebels.