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299 combatants quit rebel M23 in 4 months: MONUSCO


18:28, July 04, 2013

KINSHASA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- At least 299 combatants of the rebel March 23 movement (M23) have surrendered to the UN Mission for Stabilization of Congo (MONUSCO) since February, according to the mission spokesman, Felix Prosper Basse.

Besides desertions, the M23 is also confronted with repeated attacks from the Mai Mai Nyatura group and other self-defense militias operating in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the spokesman disclosed on Wednesday.

However, he added, the security and human rights situation remains worrying in Rutshuru territory that is occupied by the M23, whose members are linked to cases of abduction, rape, murder and looting.

Although the security situation is "tense," it remains under the control of the UN and Congolese forces, Basse affirmed.

The M23 surged a year ago in DR Congo's eastern province of North Kivu. It briefly occupied the provincial capital of Goma last year before pulling out of the town under the pressure of countries of the Great Lakes region. The rebel group seems to be weakened by a recent infight between the military and political wings.

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