The M23 rebel group has allegedly agreed in a statement to withdraw from Eastern Congo.
The rebel group’s announcement comes after a series of calls urging Kigali to stop sponsoring the killing, suffering and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Congolese people.
On Sunday, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a telephone conversation with Rwandan President Paul Kagame urged Kigali to end sponsoring the suffering and displacement of the Congolese people.
Secretary Anthony Blinken added that the United States was concerned about the escalation of the conflict. Two days later, the rebel group has announced plans to cease-fire.
The DRC government has on several occasions accused Rwanda of using the M23 rebel group to plunder Congolese resources.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebel group, fighting in the country’s east, on Tuesday said it was willing to withdraw from their occupied territories and support regional peace-making efforts.
“The M23 reiterates its readiness to the direct dialogue with the DRC government in order to find a lasting solution to the root causes of the conflict in the Eastern DRC,” the group’s spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka said.
He said the M23 group “was ready to start disengagement and withdraw”.
The statement comes just after the DRC government said that 272 people were killed in a massacre in Kishishe in the province of North Kivu, that the Congolese government blames on the rebel group. The DRC on Monday revised its death toll from a previous estimate of 50.
The M23 insurgency arises from the long fallout from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The group claims to represent the interest of Congolese Tutsis, the ethnic group that was targeted in the genocide and to which Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame belongs, against Hutu militias. The Congolese government, however, says the group exists only to plunder Congolese resources.
Congo has alleged that Rwanda is providing M23 with support, a claim that UN experts and US officials have also pointed to in the last few months. However, Rwanda denies the accusations.
On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had a “productive conversation” with Rwandan President Paul Kagame during which he asked Rwanda to stop supporting the rebel group and call for its retreat.
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