BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- A military leader from the M23 rebel group says his troops have started pulling out of towns captured last week in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This follows a deal brokered by Uganda. And it’s the first concrete sign that international pressures have stopped the advance of rebel fighters. Meanwhile, the DRC government has confirmed it has received reports of rebel withdrawals.
Lambert Mende, Spokesman of DR Congo Government, said, "If M23 pulls back, so much the better. It’s the solution least costly in terms of human lives. If the M23 don’t pull back, then they will have to deal with the force of the Congolese army."
The M23 rebel group is made up of hundreds of officers who deserted the Congolese army in April. Since then the rebels have occupied vast swaths of territory in mineral-rich eastern Congo. The rebels accused the DRC government of failing to honor a 2009 peace deal that incorporated them into the national army. Last week, the rebels took the strategically important town of Goma, and other nearby towns in eastern Congo without much resistance.