Congo:M23-FARDC fighting claims 900 lives

Fighting between DR Congo’s military and M23 rebels killed more than 900 combatants in the country’s restive east before the insurgents were routed, a senior military official claims.

‘Between May 20 and November 5, the … (army) had 201 dead and 680 wounded,’ General Jean-Lucien Bahuma, a senior commander in the North Kivu region where the fighting took place, told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

‘On the M23 side, there were 721 dead and 543 captured, including 72 Rwandans and 28 Ugandans.’

Three UN peacekeepers were also killed.

The M23 rebels, one of many armed groups operating in the mineral-rich but impoverished east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, were routed by the national army, who were backed by a 3000-strong special UN intervention brigade.

The UN has accused Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda of backing the M23. Both countries have denied the charges.

Hopes for a political deal to end the latest bloody insurgency to plague eastern DR Congo were dashed on November 12, when the government and the defeated insurgents failed to sign a much hoped-for peace deal.