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M23 has 48 hours to leave Goma

Nov. 27, 2012 at 4:33 PM

KAMPALA, Uganda, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- An official from the Uganda military said the rebel M23 movement in neighboring DRC has until Thursday to give up its positions in Goma near the Rwandan border.

The International Criminal Court last week called for the immediate arrest of rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda after fighters from his March 23 movement seized control of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Former rebels who joined the DRC military mutinied this year, forming M23 after saying the government in Kinshasa failed to implement a 2009 peace deal.

DRC, Rwandan and M23 leaders met in Uganda this week to find a solution to the conflict.

Ugandan Gen. Aronda Nyakairima said M23 has until Thursday to pull its troops out of Goma, The Wall Street Journal reports. A rebel spokesman, Bertrand Bisimwa, said M23 agreed to withdraw but wanted some concessions regarding opposition leaders in DRC.

A government spokesman from DRC was quoted as saying, on condition of anonymity, that M23 demands were unreasonable.

"Talks will only start after the restoration of state authority in Goma," the spokesman said.

Last week, BBC correspondents reported Goma residents appeared to support a proposal by rebel forces to march on the DRC capital Kinshasa. The Journal adds that a Monday deadline for rebels to leave Goma passed without incident.

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