Hundreds Flee As Congo’s M23 Rebels Near Key City Of Goma

Hundreds Flee As Congo’s M23 Rebels Near Key City Of Goma

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo between the army and M23 rebels has moved close to the key eastern city of Goma, said an army spokesperson on Monday, causing a fresh wave of displacement amid diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.

Clashes picked up again in North-Kivu province on Friday, ending about a week of relative calm since the group launched their latest offensive on October 20.

Battles have broken out around the villages of Kibumba, Rugari and Tongo, North-Kivu army spokesperson Guillaume Ndjike said.

Kibumba is around 20 km north of Goma, which the M23 briefly overran during their first big insurrection in 2012.

“They are attacking but we are containing them and taking initiatives to push them back,” Ndjike said.

A Tongo resident who did not wish to be named said via telephone that the army had left and that people were fleeing in masses.

The M23 have staged a major come-back in east Congo this year since they were chased into neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda in 2013.

Tens of thousands have fled fresh fighting that has caused a diplomatic rift between Congo and Rwanda, which Congo accuses of backing the Tutsi-led group which Rwanda denies.

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