A rebel group that has plagued the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for more than a year and a half says it is laying down its arms and is ready to negotiate with the government.
The M23 movement announced its intention to end its rebellion and demobilize in statement Tuesday. The move came hours after government forces pushed rebel fighters from the last two areas under their control.
M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa asked for a unilateral cease-fire on Sunday to allow stalled peace talks between the two sides to continue, but the government rejected his call, saying it would only accept the end of M23's armed rebellion.
Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende told VOA on Monday that he expected the fighting would be over in a matter of days, and government forces pressed their campaign to recapture the last remaining hilltops.
M23 consists of fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal, but later defected after complaining of poor treatment, and launched their rebellion in April 2012.