Congolese Troops Enter Goma Following Rebel Pullout

Posted December 3rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Democratic Republic of Congo troops have returned to the eastern city of Goma, although rebels who occupied the city for nearly two weeks remain close by.

Reports from the area say about 600 army troops entered Goma Monday, while government officials also started to return.

The M23 rebel group pulled out of the city on Saturday after the brokering of a regional peace deal.

Under the plan, the rebels were to withdraw 20 kilometers from the North Kivu provincial capital. But residents and officials say some of the rebels remain on the outskirts of town.

The rebels maintain that they have not broken the agreement.

M23 is made up of former rebels who were integrated into the Congolese army before deserting earlier this year, complaining of discrimination and poor treatment.

Since launching an insurgency in April, the rebels have won battles against Congolese troops and seized land in North Kivu province. On Wednesday and Thursday, the group looted homes as it pulled out of the town of Sake.

The DRC and a panel of U.N. experts say the rebels have received support from Rwanda and Uganda, something both countries deny.

Congo's government has tried for years with little success to pacify the east, where rebel and militia groups compete for control of the region's mineral wealth.