20 November 2012

Uganda: M23 Takes Over Goma Airport As President Kabila Jets in Kampala

Hundreds of government soldiers and police in the Democratic Republic of Congo have surrendered to rebels at a stadium in Goma. ( Resource: DR Congo Troops Surrender to Rebels

Rebel group M23 has announced their take over of Goma Airport, in the eastern part of the Congo.

The group's spokesman Col Vianney Kazarama confirmed this development saying "the town fell into their hands at 11:33 local time, despite the attack helicopters, and the heavy weapons, of the FARDC (Congo army).

Earlier on, the rebels had revealed the take over on their Face book wall in Swahili saying "mapambano ineelekeya ku Mont Goma Aero port yote Tayari." This means that though fighting continues in Goma the airport is under their control.

The M23 is led by mutinying soldiers under the control of General Bosco Ntaganda who rose up eight months ago, contending that Democratic Republic of Congo's government violated a 2009 peace deal that was meant to integrate them into the army.

The rebels on Nov 19 demanded that the government open peace talks within 24 hours or see a continuation of fighting around the eastern city. The DRC government quickly rejected the demand.

But contrary to the UN report which pinned the Ugandan and Rwandan governments' for financing the incursion, President Kabila jetted into Uganda on Nov 20 to discuss the Goma issue and it is presumed the talks will include the re-opening of the Bunagana border which the Ugandan government closed recently.

Kabila has also shown his interest in speaking to Rwanda over the issue of financing the rebels and opening up of their borders.

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