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Officials say Congo, M23 Will Sign Peace Deal Monday

  • VOA News

Uganda says the Democratic Republic of Congo's government will sign a peace deal on Monday with rebel group M23, which gave up its fight this week.

A spokesman for the Ugandan government, which has hosted peace talks between Congo and M23, says the peace deal is ready and will detail the process for demobilizing rebel fighters. Some will likely be integrated into the Congolese army.

M23 announced the end of its rebellion earlier this week, after U.N.-backed Congolese government forces seized the last of the group's strongholds in North Kivu province. The group says it will still pursue its goals through political means.

Uganda is holding M23's military chief, Sultani Makenga, who crossed the border this week along with at least 1,500 rebel fighters.

The Rwandan Red Cross reports 95 wounded M23 fighters have sought refuge in that country.

M23's surrender has raised hope for peace in eastern Congo, which has been ravaged by years of fighting between the government and various rebel groups, often competing for control of the area's rich mines.

The Congolese army has said it will now go after other armed groups that operate in the region, including the Rwandan Hutu group FDLR.

The army is backed by a 3,000-soldier U.N. "intervention brigade," authorized to undertake offensive operations against the rebels.

M23 consists of fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but later defected after complaining of poor treatment. They launched their rebellion in April 2012 and seized territory in Congo's North Kivu province.

Congo has accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both countries deny.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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