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DRC M23 rebels end rebellion, say ready to disarm

05 November 2013, 18:42

Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebel group declared an end to its 20-month rebellion on Tuesday and said it was ready to disarm and demobilise troops and pursue a political solution to end the crisis in the east of the country.

The M23 declaration was issued hours after government forces drove the rebel fighters out of their last two strongholds at around 03:00 on Tuesday.

African leaders had urged the group to renounce their rebellion to allow the signing of a peace agreement with President Joseph Kabila's government.

"The chief of general staff and the commanders of all major units are requested to prepare troops for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration on terms to be agreed with the government of Congo," M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa said in a statement.

Congolese government spokesperson Laurent Mende said many rebel fighters were surrendering after government soldiers seized control of Tshanzu and Runyoni. Mende said the Kinshasa government was ready to pursue peace talks.

"In a region that has suffered so much, this is obviously a significant positive step in the right direction," Russell Feingold, US special envoy to the DRC and the Great Lakes region, told reporters at a briefing in Pretoria.

- Reuters


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