KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo said it was ending its insurgency just hours after government forces claimed a military victory.
M23 leaders said in a statement the movement would adopt "purely political means" to achieve its goals and urged its fighters to disarm, the BBC reported Tuesday.
The government said the last remaining rebels either surrendered or fled the country.
Since the conflict began last year, at least 800,000 people have fled their homes, the BBC said.
African leaders meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, Monday agreed that the M23 should make "a public declaration renouncing rebellion" so a peace agreement could be signed with the Congolese government.
DRC Defense Minister Alexandre Luba Ntambo said once the rebels make their declaration, the government "would make a public declaration of acceptance of this" and a formal peace agreement would be signed five days later.
DRC Information Minister Lambert Mende said Tuesday government troops drove the rebels from the last of their hilltop strongholds near the Ugandan border.
"We can say that it's finished. But you never know," Mende told the BBC. "Those who escaped can come with hit-and-run operations so we have to end everything politically so that we are sure our people can sleep quietly without any threat."
Rebel military leader Sultani Makenga was among those who fled either to Rwanda or Uganda, Mende said.
In the statement, M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa said, "[The] chief of general staff and the commanders of all major units are requested to prepare troops for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration on terms to be agreed with the government of Congo."
The government army launched a major offensive in late October, securing the rebels' last key stronghold at Bunagana last week.