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Congo rebel group, M23 announces retreat from captured Congo villages

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The March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group, on Sunday, announced that it would retreat from the villages that came under its control at the end of last week in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rebel group said it wanted a peaceful resolution of the crisis and called the authorities to start a fruitful dialogue, the fighters also expressed their intention “to hand over to the Red Cross, all soldiers of the Congolese army captured on the front line”.

The M23 took the “decision to withdraw, once more, from its newly-won positions to allow for its concerns to be addressed through open and fruitful dialogue with the government of DR Congo”, the group said on Sunday.

The M23 “never had the intention to capture areas to run them, our only motivation is the peaceful resolution of the crisis,” it added in a statement.

Clashes between the rebels and soldiers flared up last Wednesday after days of calm when rebels from the group took control of some villages in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province, local sources said.

The M23 also said it intended “to hand over all soldiers from the national army captured on the frontline to the International Committee of the Red Cross for proper care”

The M23 was formed by former members of a Congolese Tutsi armed group that was once supported by Rwanda and Uganda. The rebels had been incorporated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed on March 23, 2009. In 2012, they mutinied, saying the deal had not been upheld and naming their group the March 23 (M23) Movement.

Becoming one of the scores of armed groups that roam eastern DR Congo, the M23 briefly seized the city of Goma before being defeated and forced out of the country.

After its defeat, the M23 eventually signed an accord with the government that included provisions for its fighters to reintegrate into civilian society; but the group has again accused the government of reneging on the deal and resumed fighting last year.

UN investigators have previously accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23. Both countries, which intervened militarily in Congo during two regional wars 20 years ago, denied the allegation.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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