Congo Rebels Clash With National Army Near Eastern City of Goma

M23 rebels and soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s army clashed today on the outskirts of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, army spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli said.

The two sides fought for three hours at the village of Mutaho, 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) north of Goma, before the army pushed the rebels back, Hamuli said by phone today from the city. “Tension is mounting” in the area as a new brigade of United Nations forces arrive to combat the M23 and other rebel groups, he said, adding that the number of casualties is unknown.

M23 spokesman Colonel Vianney Kazarama said Congo’s army began the attack and continues to fire mortars. “If this continues we will have to violate the terms of our cease fire,” Kazarama said by phone today from Kibati, two kilometers north of Mutaho.

The M23 captured Goma in November before withdrawing to the outskirts of the city under pressure from the international community. Peace talks between the rebels and the government have stalled in neighboring Uganda ahead of the arrival of the intervention brigade.

Kazarama said the rebels won’t attack the new UN brigade.

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