DRC M23 rebels declare ceasefire
30 August 2013, 18:02
Goma - Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebels suspended
fighting and withdrew from the frontline on Friday to allow an independent
investigation into shelling that hit neighbouring Rwanda, its leader said.
Rwanda accused DRC on Thursday of shelling its territory and
said such "provocation" would not be tolerated, raising fears of an
escalation in the conflict in eastern DRC where army troops and the UN
peacekeepers have been battling the rebels.
The United Nations has thrown its weight behind DRC's
government, saying its peacekeepers witnessed the M23 rebels firing shells into
"We have just asked our forces to withdraw from the
Kanyaruchinya front line and cease combat so as to allow for an investigation
into who was shelling Rwanda," M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa told France's
Bisimwa said the decision would have immediate effect but
the M23 would hold onto other positions. He asked Congo's government to resume
negotiations to end the conflict in the mineral-rich east of the vast central
The M23 rebels, named after a 23 March 2009, peace deal that
ended four years of rebellion in eastern DRC, took up arms last year saying the
government had failed to honour the agreement, which included integrating them
into the army.
After seizing Goma in November, the rebels further demanded DRC’s
President Joseph Kabila hold national talks, release political prisoners and
disband the electoral commission.
A military spokesperson for the UN mission in DRC (Monusco)
said there was no fighting along the front on Friday and the rebels seemed to
have pulled back.