2 Dec 2012

Rebels leaving Goma

6:11 am on 2 December 2012

Rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo have begun to withdraw from the city of Goma.

The M23 rebels left the city, after seizing it from government troops on 20 November.

UN peacekeepers from Uruguay watched as they boarded trucks and drove away on Saturday.

Their departure was agreed in an accord mediated by Uganda a week ago.

"We are leaving today. We are leaving for peace," said Colonel Sultani Makenga.

According to the accord, the rebels are to pull back to a 20km buffer zone around Goma.

The UN accuses Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the revolt, but both strongly deny this.

The eastern border area of DR Congo has seen years of conflict since a civil war from 1997-2003 in which some five million people died.