Congolese helicopters blast rebel positions
23 July 2013, 18:12
Goma - Three Congolese army helicopters on Tuesday blasted
positions of the rebel M23 movement near the eastern Democratic Republic of
Gongo (DRC) provincial capital of Goma.
"Our helicopters have just bombarded enemy
positions," a Congolese officer told AFP on the frontlines after AFP
journalists witnessed the attack.
"Until now the enemy has not yet responded," he
These were the first attacks since fighting on Monday, which
began in the morning and ended in the afternoon.
The M23 movement said Monday it was only 4km from Goma,
although it stressed its aim was to force the government to negotiate rather
than to take the city.
The M23 occupied Goma, the capital of North Kivu province,
for 10 days in November before withdrawing from the city under international
pressure and in return for a dialogue with Kinshasa.
The troubled dialogue began in the Ugandan capital Kampala
But after a truce of around two months, the army and the M23
resumed fighting on 14 July. According to the United Nations, the fighting has
caused 4 200 people to flee their homes.
The M23 has been active since May 2012 in the mineral-rich
province of North Kivu. It is mainly composed of Congolese Tutsi who were
integrated into the army following a 2000 peace accord. They mutinied in April
2012 saying the accord was never fully respected.
Kinshasa and the United Nations have accused Rwanda and
Uganda of supporting the M23, which have drawn denials from the DRC’s two neighbouring