Intense fighting resumes between army, M23 in DR Congo

KINSHASA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Intense fighting resumed early Sunday between the army and rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), an army spokesperson has confirmed.

"It is the FARC that has launched offensives against the M23 positions since Sunday morning" in the Rutshuru territory of the North Kivu province, said Col. Ndjike Kaiko, spokesman for the FARDC in the area.

The army "continues to take the lead over the enemy," he said.

"We want to end the hypocrisy of the M23 rebels in a definitive way, because they do not want to make peace sincerely," the spokesman said. "With the resumption of these operations, we will recover the hills that serve as their bases and restore peace for our people,"

The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government. M23 leaders have accused the government of failing to respect that agreement.

The M23 announced in early April its withdrawal from the villages it took earlier in the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu province.

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