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UN Helicopters Attack M23 in Eastern Congo

A Congolese government tank prepares to deploy for fighting against M23 rebels, at an operating base in Kanyaruchinya, north of Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 23, 2013.
United Nations helicopters have fired on rebel group M23 in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where the army has been battling the rebels for the past week.

A reporter for VOA's Swahili Service said U.N. and Congolese army forces attacked M23 on Wednesday in Kibati, about 10 kilometers north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

He said it appeared both sides suffered heavy casualties, and that neither side gained any ground.

The U.N., which has a large peacekeeping operation in Congo, recently deployed an "Intervention Brigade" to fight rebel groups in the east and help stabilize the volatile region.

U.N. peacekeepers previously clashed with M23 on Friday, when they fired at the rebels outside Goma after rebel artillery shells killed two civilians.

The DRC's minister of health, Felix Kabange, visited wounded soldiers and civilians in a Goma hospital Wednesday and promised that the government will bring peace to the region.

M23 briefly took control of Goma last year and still controls parts of North Kivu province.

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