Congo's army occupies rebel positions in breakthrough
Friday, August 30, 2013 - 01:29
Aug. 30 - Forces from the Democratic Republic of Congo, backed by the United Nations, take up positions previously occupied by the M23 rebels. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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The Congolese army moves into the strategic hills overlooking the eastern town of Goma on Friday in their biggest success in a year.
M23 rebels, who have fought an 18-month uprising in the eastern borderlands of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said they quit the area to allow an independent investigation into shelling that has hit neighboring Rwanda.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO MILITARY SPOKESMAN, COLONEL AMULI OLIVIER, SAYING:
"If they are at the Rwandan border we cannot say much because they are in their own territory and we are in our own territory. If Rwanda helps M23, Congo doesn't care, because we know they have mercenaries from Eritrea, from Germany, from Uganda. The most important thing for Congo is to say whoever takes arms against Congo, will always face the full force of the army and the army's objective is to secure Congolese borders and its civilians."
The United Nations has thrown its weight behind Congo's government, saying its peacekeepers witnessed the M23 rebels firing shells into Rwanda.
But Rwanda is blaming Congolese forces for the shelling and said such "provocation" will not be tolerated.
This raises the risk that Congo's small but militarily powerful neighbor might openly intervene in a country where it has fought two wars in the last two decades.
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