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Fresh Clashes between Troops, M23 Rebels in DRC

Fresh clashes have erupted between the army and M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, following a three-week lull.

Each side has blamed the other for starting the unrest that began late Wednesday outside of the flashpoint city of Goma.

Army spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli says the rebels launched the attack, but the army has the upper hand.

M23 says the unrest began after troops began massing near rebel positions and making small incursions.

In a VOA interview, M23 deputy spokesman Lawrence Kingston said the rebel group wants to resume peace talks that began in Uganda, but the government has not cooperated.

"We are still waiting and they are fighting us every single day. So, what [can] one do? We are still waiting. We can not fight them. We ask for ceasefire, but they are bombing people here. They are killing people around here."

The fighting marks the first major hostilities since the army bombed M23 headquarters in July and drove the rebels back several kilometers from Goma.

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. But the rebels later deserted the army, complaining of discrimination and poor treatment.

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