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UN: M23 rebels suffer defeats in Congo
September 13, 2013, 4:53 am

UN and government forces have pushed the rebels back from Goma [AP]

UN and government forces have pushed the rebels back from Goma [AP]

Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous said on Thursday that the national army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and international forces, has managed to push back the M23 rebel group that has threatened stability in the country.

“The UN Mission for Stabilisation of Congo (MONUSCO) has firmly strengthened its positions to be in a better position to defend Goma and all the population in and around the area,” Ladsous said at a press briefing.

He said that the national forces (FARDC), with support from UN forces had won a number of battles that forced M23 to regroup in the north, thereby no longer presenting a direct threat to Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu.

Clashes between FARDC and the M23 movement erupted in mid-July with the rebels initially gaining ground and coming only 12km from Goma.

The rebel offensive launched on July 14 targeted Mutaho village in eastern Congo and has been the most serious since the M23 fighters briefly controlled Goma in November 2012. They withdrew from the town 10 days later under the pressure of Great Lakes countries who were negotiating for a peaceful solution.

Despite the recent military gains, Ladsous, however, says the conflict can only end with a political solution.