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UN chief calls on armed rebel group to stop attacks in E DRC

Xinhua | Updated: 2012-11-19 10:21

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called on the armed group, known as the M23, to "immediately cease its attacks" in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and urged all relevant states "to use their influence" on the rebels for the same purpose.      

"The secretary-general strongly condemns the resumption of hostilities by the M23 in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman. "He calls on the M23 to immediately cease its attacks and any further military advances toward the city of Goma in North Kivu."

"The secretary-general calls on all relevant States to use their influence on the M23 to bring about an immediate end to the attacks," the statement said.

The rebels launched a pre-dawn raid on the town of Kibumba in North Kivu on Saturday, prompting the UN to dispatch attack helicopters at dawn for defense and hold an emergency meeting to discuss the surging violence.

The rebels were last reported just 18 km from the provincial capital of Goma. Officials fear it is now under threat of attack.

M23 is composed of a breakaway faction of soldiers from the DRC's national army. It recently seized seven towns in North Kivu province and ramped up attacks on schools, hospitals, homes and other civilian targets.

More than 260 civilians had been killed, including 83 children, earlier this week, UN officials said.

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