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Fighting flares in Congo
July 15, 2013, 6:35 pm

In this file photo, M23 rebels withdraw from areas in eastern Congo [AP]

In this file photo, M23 rebels withdraw from areas in eastern Congo [AP]

Clashes between the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) and the rebel March 23 movement (M23) erupted for a second day only 12 km from Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, the military said on Monday.

The rebel offensive launched Sunday afternoon targeting Mutaho village in eastern Congo is the most serious since the M23 fighters briefly controlled the key eastern town in November 2012.

“The M23 terrorists attacked our positions in Mutaho and we retaliated,” a FARDC officer who requested for anonymity told Xinhua by phone.

But an M23 spokesperson told Xinhua that it was FARDC and its allies that first launched an offensive.

Fighting between army soldiers and rebels first broke out near Goma on May 20.

Since then, the M23 movement have threatened to attack the towns of Goma, Beni and Butembo in North-Kivu province in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) since late April.

The rebels have said they are ready to attack the UN intervention force if their bases come under fire.

On June 11, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointed Martin Kobler to head the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

M23 first appeared in April 2012 and seized control of Goma in December last year.

It withdrew from the town 10 days later under the pressure of Great Lakes countries who were negotiating for a peaceful solution.

Source: Agencies