DR Congo Rebels Seize Town After Army Flees

Posted July 8th, 2012 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have seized a second town in the eastern part of the country from fleeing government troops.

Representatives of the M23 rebel movement say they took over Rutshuru around midday Sunday without any fighting. The town lies on the main road north from the North Kivu provincial capital, Goma.

A rebel leader told reporters that M23 fighters will take more towns until the government agrees to negotiations.

The rebels' advance comes a day after a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to the country's violence. A U.N. peacekeeper was shot and killed Friday when rebels fought government troops and seized Bunagana, a town near the Uganda border southeast of Rutshuru.

Thousands of Congolese civilians and several hundred soldiers have fled into neighboring Uganda, after rebel forces seized the border town.

M23 comprises 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.