Congo rebels retreat to Sake

By MELANIE GOUBY and RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
November 29, 2012
Congolese  M23 rebel fighters dismount as they look for FDLR (Force Democratique de Liberation du Rwanda) returning from an incursion into Rwanda Near Kibumba, north of Goma Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012. Speaking in Goma , M23 president Jean Marie Runiga said the rebels will not leave the city of 1 million which they seized a week ago. Rwanda military spokesman confirmed FDLR attacked Rwandan positions on Tuesday, which they repulsed and send back to Congo. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
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Congolese M23 rebel fighters dismount as they look for FDLR (Force Democratique de Liberation du Rwanda) returning from an incursion into Rwanda Near Kibumba, north of Goma Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012. Speaking in Goma , M23 president Jean Marie Runiga said the rebels will not leave the city of 1 million which they seized a week ago. Rwanda military spokesman confirmed FDLR attacked Rwandan positions on Tuesday, which they repulsed and send back to Congo. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

GOMA, Congo (AP) — A rebel spokesman in Congo says his fighters have pulled back several miles (kilometers) to the town of Sake and are on track to leave the eastern city of Goma on Friday, in accordance with a deadline imposed by the nations neighboring Congo.

Sake is 27 kilometers (18 miles) outside of Goma, and was taken last week by the M23 rebels right after the fall of Goma. The capture of Goma along the Rwandan border in mineral-rich east Congo was one of the most humiliating defeats for the enormous but inept Congolese military.

Rebel spokesman Lt. Col. Vianney Kazarama told The Associated Press on Thursday: "We are withdrawing. Tomorrow we will (retreat to) Goma," on track to leave the city as asked. Rebels patrolled streets of Goma Thursday morning.