Reports: Rebels Leave Captured Eastern Congo Towns

Posted July 9th, 2012 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo are reported to be withdrawing from several towns they seized in the east, near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

Broadcaster Radio Okapi cites local sources as saying the rebel M23 movement left Rutshuru and other towns in North Kivu province on Monday, handing authority to the police.

The rebels took Rutshuru without a fight Sunday, and had seized other areas late last week after heavy fighting with Congolese government troops.

The U.N. mission in Congo has vowed to protect the provincial capital of Goma if M23 makes a move on the city.

M23 leaders have called on the government to honor a peace agreement that ended another uprising in 2008 and 2009.

Many rebels were integrated into the army as part of that agreement but mutinied this year, complaining of poor treatment.

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