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Over 900 killed in DRC fighting since May

25 November 2013, 21:24

Kinshasa - Fighting between DR Congo's military and M23 rebels killed more than 900 combatants in the country's restive east before the insurgents were routed, a senior military official told AFP on Monday.

"Between 20 May and 5 November, the... [army] had 201 dead and 680 wounded. On the M23 side, there were 721 dead and 543 captured, including 72 Rwandans and 28 Ugandans," said General Jean-Lucien Bahuma, a senior commander in the North Kivu region where the fighting took place.

Three UN peacekeepers were also killed.

The M23 rebels, one of many armed groups operating in the mineral-rich but impoverished east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, were routed by the national army, who were backed by a 3 000-strong special UN intervention brigade.

The UN has accused Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda of backing the M23. Both countries have denied the charges.

Hopes for a political deal to end the latest bloody insurgency to plague eastern DR Congo were dashed on 12 November, when the government and the defeated insurgents failed to sign a much hoped-for peace deal.

On Monday, Congolese army chief Didier Etumba called on all remaining militant groups still operating in the country to lay down their arms, adding any fighters who did so would be reintegrated into the population.

Those who did not, he added in a written statement, would be hunted down "wherever they find themselves."



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