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US Concerned About Escalating DRC Violence

  • VOA News

Men investigate the remains of a house struck hours earlier by deadly mortar fire, sparking angry protestors to take to the streets, in Goma, DRC, Aug. 24, 2013.

Men investigate the remains of a house struck hours earlier by deadly mortar fire, sparking angry protestors to take to the streets, in Goma, DRC, Aug. 24, 2013.

Renewed fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo between government soldiers and M23 rebels has brought expression of concern from the United States.

The two sides suffered heavy casualties in clashes Sunday north of the city of Goma. The fighting that began last week marks the first major hostilities since the army bombed M23 headquarters in July and drove the rebels several kilometers from Goma.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement Sunday the United States is "alarmed" by the violence. It condemns the actions of the M23 rebels, calling on them to end hostilities and disband.

The U.S. is also urging the governments in the DRC and neighboring Rwanda to use restraint to prevent further military escalation and actions that could endanger civilians.

United Nations experts have accused Rwanda of supporting M23 - an allegation Rwanda denies.

The M23 briefly took control of Goma last year and still controls parts of North Kivu province. The group has been fighting for political power and control of the region's rich mines.

The M23 is made up of former rebels who were integrated into the Congolese army in a 2009 peace agreement. The rebels later deserted the army, complaining of discrimination and poor treatment.
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