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UN: Rebel Clashes Kill 80, Displace Thousands in Eastern DRC

  • VOA News

M23 rebels sit in a vehicle as they withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma, Dec. 1, 2012 (file photo).

M23 rebels sit in a vehicle as they withdraw from the eastern Congo town of Goma, Dec. 1, 2012 (file photo).

The United Nations says clashes between rival rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have left at least 80 people dead and approximately 100 people injured.

U.N. Deputy Spokesman Eduardo del Buey said the fighting took place Sunday in the town of Kitchanga, in North Kivu province. He said fighters from the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo, or APCLS, recaptured the town from another rebel group, the FARDC.

Buey described the situation in North Kivu as "highly volatile," adding that a split within rebel group M23 and attacks by APCLS elements have forced thousands to flee their homes for safety. Many have gone to a local base of the U.N. mission.

"There are still 3,000 internally displaced people around the MONUSCO base in Kitchanga," he said.

The U.N. spokesman added that M23 forces have also re-occupied the towns of Kiwanja and Ruturu following Sunday's retreat by FARDC forces.

The M23 rebels routed the DRC national army and captured several cities last year, demanding the government fully implement a 2009 peace deal designed to integrate rebels into the Congolese army.

The rebel group appeared to split in two last week, after the group's military leader announced its political leader had been dismissed.

Leaders from Africa's Great Lakes region are set to meet in Kampala March 15 to continue talks with M23. Members from 11 countries signed a peace deal last month aimed at ending decades of conflict in the mineral-rich eastern portion of the DRC.
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