Rebel fighters capture key city in Democratic Republic of Congo

United Nations peacekeepers stood by as troops from the Rwandan-backed M23 rebel group marched unopposed into Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Small arms fire was heard soon after daybreak north of Goma, but that fighting ended swiftly and within four hours the M23 forces swept into the city unopposed.
The rebels, who Congo’s neighbour Rwanda has been forced to deny it is supporting, appear to have no clear aim now that they have control of Goma. It is expected they will demand significant concessions from the government before they agree to withdraw.
There were fears that now that the city has fallen, rebel soldiers, who have spent months in eastern Congo’s wild hinterland, will go on a rampage of looting and rape, particularly if the UN continues to appear ineffective. So far, however, they have been well-disciplined.
“They marched right past my house, they were in smart uniforms and looked disciplined, but we know that they can start stealing or getting drunk and then we don’t know who will protect us,” a motorcycle taxi driver in Goma said.

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