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African Leaders Demand Congo Rebels Cease Fire or Face Attack

  • M23 rebel group has until 6 p.m. Friday to halt offensive
  • East African bloc has deployed a peacekeeping force in Congo

A summit of African leaders ordered the M23 rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to cease hostilities or face attack by a regional military force.

African leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, Angolan President Joao Lourenco and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta met in the Angolan capital, Luanda, on Wednesday to discuss continuing violence in the mineral-rich region that has displaced tens of thousands of people. They demanded the rebels, which Congo and United Nations experts say are backed by Rwanda, lay down their weapons by 6 p.m. on Friday.