M23 rebels declare truce for UN Secretary General visit to DRC


Colonel Kazarama, head of soldiers of the rebel group M23, speaks to soldiers on April 27, 2013 in the Rumangabo camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. M23 rebels have said they will respect a ceasefire during a visit from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.


Junior D. Kannah

M23 rebels in eastern Congo have agreed to a temporary ceasefire Thursday in light of a visit by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

News of the truce comes at the heels of clashes between the rebel group and government troops that have killed 20 people this week.

"We've decided to announce this ceasefire to allow His Excellency Ban Ki-moon to visit Goma as he promised," Amani Kabasha, political spokesman for the M23 rebel group, told Reuters

The recent fighting has broken a six-month calm after violent clashes in the fall and summer.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will join the UN Secretary General on a visit to Goma, the capital of North Kivu, which was once held by the rebels.

The two will meet UN officials, discuss World Bank initiatives and $1 billion in aid promised to Congo if a peace deal is reached.

Talks between the rebels and the Congolese government in Uganda have stalled recently.

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The Tutsi-dominated March 23 Movement (M23) and their allies began a rebellion in Congo just over a year ago but the roots of the conflict can be traced backed to the Rwandan genocide.

The group is reportedly financed by Rwanda and is accused of various atrocities and human rights violations.

The province of North Kivu on the eastern Congolese border with Rwanda has seen fighting between the Congolese military and the rebels for over a year.

The fighting has displaced more than 500,000 people.