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M23 forces seen in eastern DRC

Dec. 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- There are unconfirmed reports that fighters with the March 23 movement had returned to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a U.N. official said.

Peacekeepers with the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC, known by its initials MONUSCO, have helped restore security to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, after M23 rebels left the area.

M23 seized Goma recently, saying it would march later on Kinshasa. The group mutinied this year, saying the government had reneged on peace agreements. M23 is accused of war crimes.

Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told the U.N. News Center the situation in eastern DRC is "fragile." MONSUCO forces, he added, were on alert following emerging reports of M23 forces in Goma.

"While many of the reports could not be confirmed, MONUSCO was able to confirm the presence of M23 elements in several locations in North Kivu," he was quoted as saying.

Attacks on Goma sparked fears of a humanitarian crisis. The International Committee of the Red Cross in DRC said the situation in the eastern Kivu provinces was complicated.

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