October 17, 2013 (GOMA) – One rebel was on Tuesday killed in clashes between the M23 rebels and Congolese government troops, a rebel leader said Tuesday in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
The M23 and the DRC government have since last year been negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict in eastern DRC.
Rene Abandi, head of the M23 delegation at the Kampala peace talks said their position was attacked by government forces but said the rebels had instructions not to fight back.
‘‘We cannot talk and fight at the same time. We condemn the attack which came despite the ongoing peace talks,’’ Abandi said.
The most recent round of talks between the M23 and the DRC government began in September after a meeting of leaders from the great lakes ordered the warring parties in the conflict in eastern DRC to go to the negotiating table.
Abandi said the M23 is still committed to peace talks but added the rebels will defend themselves when attacked again by Congolese government troops.
‘‘M23 remains attached to the peace process....But we don’t have another choice apart from defending ourselves."
The M23 is largely made up of Tutsi rebels who were previously part of the Congolese army, but mutinied in April 2012 when they accused the DRC government of not respecting a 2009 peace deal.
Rwanda has been accused by the United Nations group of experts and the DRC government of supporting the rebels but Rwanda denies the accusations.
Speaking in Kigali on Tuesday, Rwanda President Paul Kagame said his country had no control over what happens in DRC.
"Rwanda is not behind the problems in (Congo) but whatever happens in (Congo) spills over to Rwanda. We have no capacity to control what is happening inside (Congo), but what we have no doubt about is the ability to protect our territory," said Kagame