Congo rebels set demands for Goma withdrawal


by Reuters

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Rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo issue their ultimatum -- they will end their occupation of the city of Goma if the government accepts their demands.

Jean-Marie Runiga is political head of the so-called M23 rebels.

He says the group would withdraw only if the government held national talks, released political prisoners and dissolved the electoral commission.

The Congolese government rejected the demands - dismissing them as a farce. The rebels - who the U.N. said are backed by Rwanda - captured the eastern city of Goma last week.

After an eight-month insurgency, deadlock could lead to all out war - in an area plagued by two decades of conflict that killed more than five million people.