Kinshasa - The M23 rebel group in eastern DR Congo said on Monday that hundreds of its commanders were undergoing special training to face an offensive by a newly-formed UN combat force.
"462 unit commanders have been on a refresher course since Friday in Rumangabo," a large military base in the North Kivu province, the group's military spokesperson Vianney Kazarama told AFP.
The UN Security Council this year approved its first ever offensive peacekeeping brigade in a bid to end years of failure in rooting out rebel groups and killer gangs in the restive region.
The course's purpose is to "bring them up to speed on how to deal with the brigade's deployment, how to defend themselves," Kazarama said.
"They are being taught how to react if the brigade hunts them down, how to gather their troops if the going gets tough and how to set up ambushes," he added.
The UN's intervention brigade will consist of just over 3 000 troops from southern African countries and will be headed by a Tanzanian general.
The M23, which Kinshasa and a panel of UN experts say was created as a Rwandan proxy, are accused of a number of rights abuses and have been slapped with UN sanctions.
Among those behind the emergence last year of the M23 is Bosco Ntaganda, a Rwandan-born rebel commander nicknamed The Terminator who in March turned himself in to the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.