Tags: congo | rebels | un | forces

UN Forces, Congolese Army in Deadly Combat With Rebels

Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 01:38 PM

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United Nations helicopters fired on the M23 rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday, the Voice of America reported. 
 
A reporter for VOA's Swahili Service said U.N. and Congolese army forces attacked the M23 in Kibati, about 6 miles north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
 
He said it appeared that both sides suffered heavy casualties, and that neither side gained any ground.
 
The United Nations, which has a large peacekeeping operation in Congo, recently deployed an "Intervention Brigade" to fight rebel groups in the east and help stabilize the volatile region.
 
U.N. peacekeepers previously clashed with the M23 on Friday, when they fired at the rebels outside Goma after rebel artillery shells killed two civilians. Both sides suffered heavy casualties in weekend fighting, with witnesses telling the Associated Press that more than 50 rebels and 23 government troops were killed.    
 
DRC Health Minister Felix Kabange visited wounded soldiers and civilians in a Goma hospital Wednesday and promised that the government will bring peace to the region.
 
Last year, the M23 briefly took control of Goma, a city of close to 1 million people near the Congo-Rwanda border. The group still controls parts of North Kivu province.
 
The M23 is made up of former rebels who were integrated into the Congolese army in a 2009 peace agreement but later deserted after complaining of discrimination and poor treatment.

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