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DRC rebels agree to pull-back

The M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have agreed to pull out of Goma after a deal was reached with the government. The troops have already started to pull out of other areas, M23 said.

Congolese Revolutionary Army (CRA) rebel fighters stand guard as leader of the March 23 Movement (M23) Jean-Marie Runiga arrives in his car to address media in Goma November 27, 2012. Rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo said on Tuesday they would withdraw from the eastern city of Goma if President Joseph Kabila agreed to their demands, which the Congolese government was quick to dismiss as a farce. REUTERS/James Akena (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS MILITARY)

Kongo Rebellen ziehen aus besetzen Gebieten ab M23 Hauptquartier in Goma

A day after stating that a withdrawal of its militias from Goma would only come if DRC President, Joseph Kabila, agreed to their demands, M23 rebel leaders reversed their stance on Wednesday, saying they would leave the city in the next few days.

The agreement came after Uganda brokered a deal between the two sides.

M23's military leader, Sultani Makenga, said troop withdrawals in other locations nearby had already begun.

"We're leaving Sake, we're leaving Masisi," he said in an interview with Reuters. "Goma will be later."

The M23 rebels, who UN experts say are backed by Rwanda, claim they want to "liberate" all of DRC, a vast region. The rebels captured the border city of Goma last week after Congolese soldiers withdrew and UN peacekeepers gave up defending the city.

M23 derives its name from a peace accord on March 23, 2009, that was meant to integrate the group into the DRC establishment. Fighters were incorporated into the regular military and the body formed a political party. The group broke away again earlier this year, saying Kabila's government had broken promises to them.

The insurgency has displaced 140,000 civilians according to the United Nations.

mz/ipj (AFP, Reuters, AP)