People take the start of a tshukudu (wooden scooters used to transport goods) race in the Karisimbi neighbourhood of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma. The race was organised by the UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, and a local association.
Hundreds of Congolese rebels loyal to warlord Bosco Ntaganda have fled into neighbouring Rwanda or surrendered to UN peacekeepers after being routed by a rival faction, rebel and UN sources said yesterday.
Ntaganda’s apparent defeat comes after weeks of infighting within the M23 insurgency and could open the way for rival rebel leader Sultani Makenga to sign a peace deal with Kinshasa, bringing an end to a year-long rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rebel spokesman Vianney Kazarama said Makenga’s fighters seized control yesterday of the town of Kibumba, about 30km north of Goma, capital of the mineral-rich North Kivu province.
Ntaganda and an estimated 200 fighters fled into the forest while hundreds of others crossed the border into Rwanda, Kazarama said. At least seven fighters were killed.“We’re sweeping the area and placing our soldiers at strategic points,” Kazarama said. “It is finished.”
“We’re following the situation very closely. The only thing we want is for Ntaganda to be arrested,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said.
Ntaganda’s whereabouts could not be confirmed independently and members of his faction were not reachable by telephone.
About 300 uniformed M23 rebels loyal to Ntaganda sat in a clearing littered with empty beer bottles in a small Rwandan village in Rubavu District near the frontier, as locals in tattered clothes looked on.
Rwandan soldiers, who walked around nearby, had collected heaps of the rebels’ weapons - AK-47 rifles, 60 mm mortar rounds and grenades - and laid them out in the front yard of a house.
“They were fighting us on all sides so we were forced to come to Rwanda. We know we have international rights here,” said Prince Andema Makamo, who told Reuters he was a member of the M23 faction’s political unit.
Ambulances ferried the wounded to a nearby medical clinic.
A Rwandan military official said more than 700 rebel fighters arrived in several Rwandan frontier villages through the night and into the morning, and more than 150 of them were being treated for wounds sustained in the fighting.
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