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DRC's M23 rebels deny UN accusations

15 January 2014, 08:44

Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo's M23 rebel movement on Tuesday denied UN accusations that it was seeking to rebuild from the ashes of its defeat in November.

The UN mission chief in the DRC, Martin Kobler, said on Monday there were "credible reports that the military recruitment of the M23 did not cease" after a December peace pact.

The M23, an ethnic Tutsi rebel group described as a Rwandan proxy force, officially laid down its arms after suffering a crushing military defeat at the hands of the UN-backed Congolese army in November.

The group's demise ended an 18-month insurgency that had threatened to sow violence across the region.

It marked the first step in efforts by Kinshasa to eradicate the myriad of rebel groups operating in the country's troubled east.

In a statement to the UN Security Council on Monday, Kobler cited reports that the M23 had relocated north of its old bases in North Kivu to rebuild in the Ituri province.

"We should tolerate no military re-emergence of the M23," he said.

In a statement addressed to Kobler, the M23 said Tuesday that his allegations were unsubstantiated.

"It is not enough to claim that your information is credible for it to become so and be upheld as such in front of everyone, it needs to be backed up by evidence," the group said.

The DRC, supported by an UN intervention brigade with an unprecedented offensive mandate, has vowed to use the momentum of its victory against the M23 to go after other groups that have been wreaking havoc in the east.

Among them are the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia that includes some the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, and the ADF-Nalu, an Islamist Ugandan group that has proved very resilient.

The M23 said in its statement it was committed to the peace documents it signed in December and accused Kobler of "using the ghost of the M23 movement as an excuse not to fight" the other groups.



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