Democratic Republic of Congo’s national army yesterday retook the eastern city of Goma, two days after M23 rebels withdrew.
The rebels seized the city two weeks ago but were forced to pull out by regional leaders meeting in Uganda’s capital Kampala to try and solve the situation in the vast central African nation.
The leaders demanded that the rebels withdraw 20km out of the city and also asked the government of Joseph Kabila to look into the rebels’ grievances.
However, the rebels have warned of possible military action should the Kinshasa government renege on the conditions of the agreement.
Meanwhile the Kabila government has expressed its willingness to talk to the rebels provided they honour their part of the agreement.
Richard Muyej Mangez, DRC’s interior Minister said the government was ready to start talks in the “next few days” although the rebels wanted the negotiations within 48 hours of their pull out. The 48 hours expire today.
“We gave Kinshasa a 48-hour deadline,” Vianney Kazarama, the rebels’ spokesman said adding “”You should call Congo and ask them what they plan to do. They have not yet contacted us. And we are waiting to see what happens, before pronouncing ourselves.”
M23 rebels mutinied in April causing tension and forcing an estimated 500, 000 people to flee their homes.
In related news, the UN group of experts in a new document addressed to the UN Security Council alleges that Uganda and Rwanda provided support to the rebels in the run up to the capture of Goma city.
This accusation reinforces the experts’ report last month that links the two East African nations to the rebel group, a charge the two have denied.