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Security Council to Discuss Eastern DRC as Fighting Continues

The U.N. Security Council is set to discuss the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Monday, after fighting between rebels and soldiers continued there for a third day.

DRC Information Minister Lambert Mende told VOA that troops have regained control in the town of Kiwanja and the M23 rebel stronghold of Rutshuru in North Kivu province near the border with Rwanda.

The fighting began Friday less than a week after peace talks between the government and the M23 broke down after failing to reach an agreement on amnesty for the rebels. Each side accuses the other of launching the first attacks.

Mende told VOA that any talk of peace cannot happen while "bandits" are killing Congolese people, soldiers and international troops.

"I don't see how people getting amnesty can be firing on regular troops. They are not credible when they are talking of asking amnesty. They are just destabilizing the situation, destabilizing so as to allow their friends to continue looting our country."

The United Nations said a peacekeeper from Tanzania was killed in Kiwanja while protecting the civilian population.

M23 consists of rebel fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but later defected, saying they were treated poorly and the government did not live up to the deal.

Last year, the group took over territory in North Kivu province and briefly seized Goma, the provincial capital.

North Kivu and nearby provinces have endured years of fighting between the government and various militia and rebel groups. Much of the fighting is over control of the area's rich mines.

U.N. experts have accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both nations deny.

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