July 7 - DR Congo's M23 rebels call for negotiations with the government after the seizure of township in the troubled Eastern Congo. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Rebels in Congo patrol the eastern town of Bunagana. After days of fierce fighting with government troops near the border with Uganda thousands of residents are displaced. Now rebels are calling for negotiations. (SOUNDBITE) (Swahili) POLITICAL COMMISSAR OF M23 REBELS COLONEL VIANNEY KAZARAMA SAYING: "So many people have spent three years in exile without returning home. Every time there is fighting in Bunagana they leave and don't return. So, we are saying if we want to stop our population from running we will have to reach Kinshasa. But our aim is not to go to that far. We want to remain here and call the government to come here and we will negotiate." Congo's north Kivu province has been swept by violence since late March after hundreds of ex-rebels defected from the army in support of a rebellious general. The mutiny risks dragging the vast, loosely governed central African state back into war. The U.N. estimates that the resurgence of fighting in eastern Congo has displaced more than 200,000 people since April. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters