UN accuses Congo rebels of murdering civilians

GOMA, Congo (AP) — The United Nations says the M23 rebels in Congo have been conducting regular search operations in which civilians have been murdered.

U.N. mission spokesman Col. Felix Basse said Wednesday that the M23 has mounted regular operations involving arbitrary arrests, murders and harassment of civilians. He said that at least 26 farmers had been executed between June 16 and 19 in the localities of Busanza and Jomba. The statement is among the strongest that has been made by the U.N. against the rebels.

M23 spokesman Kabashi Amani dismissed the accusations as lies.

The M23 rebels reignited Congo’s dormant war in the east last fall, overrunning the strategically important city of Goma. Peace talks with the government have started and stopped numerous times since their withdrawal from the city limits last November.

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