Congolese President Joseph Kabila met with M23 insurgents who recently took over one of the largest cities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero, who is the political leader of the group, told AFP that he met with Kabila on Saturday in the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
“The atmosphere was tense but afterwards, each [side] calmed the debate down because these are not personal problems, but problems of the country,” Lugerero said. “I think the meeting went very well.”
M23 rebels started fighting with the Congolese government earlier this year and have been accused of a number of human rights abuses.
Lugerero told The Associated Press that the M23‘s withdrawal from Goma, the city the rebel group captured last week, would be “under consideration.” M23 spokesman Lt. Col. Vianney Kazarama said, “We are waiting to hear from Runiga when he will be back from Kampala.”
Last week, Kazarama, speaking to a crowd of people in Goma’s soccer stadium, said the M23 would march on Kampala, the capital, and take over other cities.
Over the weekend, the M23 are believed to have reached the town of Sake, according to the United Nations.“The [peacekeeping] Mission is also positioning itself to try to prevent further advances of the M23,” said U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Kieran Dwyer in a release. “However, [the mission] cannot act in substitute to the Congolese army and national security forces in directly confronting the M23.”
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