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New fighting outside DRC's Goma

22 August 2013, 14:03

Goma - Fresh fighting raged Thursday outside the flashpoint city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the M23 rebels and regular army said, blaming each other for the new hostilities.

An army officer said rebels had attacked government-held positions some 20km north of Goma on Wednesday night, sparking clashes with heavy weaponry that continued into Thursday.

The territory, near the villages of Mutaho and Kibati, has been in government hands since mid-July, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

M23 spokesperson Modeste Bahati confirmed the new fighting but blamed the army for starting it by attacking rebel positions around Kibati.

"Our forces are holding their positions," he told AFP.

Both sources said they were not yet able to say how many people had been killed or wounded.

The rebellion by the M23, a group launched by Tutsi ex-soldiers who mutinied from the army in April 2012, is the latest to ravage the vast central African country's mineral-rich but conflict-torn east.

The M23 occupied Goma-- the capital of North Kivu province and the hub around which most of the fighting has revolved - for 10 days in November 2012 before withdrawing under international pressure.

The latest bout of fighting, which erupted in mid-July and has flared up periodically ever since, extinguished an almost two-month truce reached in May when UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited the region.



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