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Rift Valley Institute

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Congo rebels set conditions for Goma withdrawal

© The Daily Star

Rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo said on Tuesday they would withdraw from the eastern city of Goma only if President Joseph Kabila agreed to their demands, which the Congolese government was quick to dismiss as a farce. The deadlock raises the risk that the eight-month-old insurgency could turn into an all-out war in a region dogged by nearly two decades of conflict that has killed more than 5 million people, fuelled by competition over mineral resources. The M23 rebels, who U.N. experts say are backed by Rwanda and who say they want to “liberate” all of Congo, captured Goma last week after Congolese soldiers withdrew and U.N. peacekeepers gave up defending the city. …

“This is a sign we are in this for the long haul. M23 is digging in while the Congolese army prepares another offensive,” said Jason Stearns of independent research organisation the Rift Valley Institute. “It is difficult to imagine what the possible compromise could be between the two sides,” Stearns said.

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