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African leaders plead with rebels in DR Congo

Heads of state from Africa's Great Lakes region have called on the M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo to end their campaign and leave the town of Goma which they captured this week.

A joint statement from the leaders after their meeting in Uganda urged the M23 to end attempts to overthrow the elected government and to "stop all war activities and withdraw from Goma".

West African leaders begin DR Congo summit

Democratic Republic of Congo president Joseph Kabila is meeting with other regional leaders in Kampala to try and end the crisis in his country, a Uganda government spokesman has told Reuters.

The UN has warned of a growing humanitarian crisis in DRC after rebels continued their advance towards capital Kinshasa.

The head of the political arm of the M23 rebel group which took control of the eastern city of Goma this week is also in Kampala, but it was not clear whether he would hold direct talks with Kabila.

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UN condemns M23 rebels capture of Goma

The United Nations Security Council has condemned the capture of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo by M23 rebels.

A statement by the 15-member council said: "(The council) demands the immediate withdrawal of the M23 from Goma, the cessation of any further advances by the M23 and that its members immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms."

UN experts claim Rwanda is behind the rebellion in eastern Congo and that Uganda has also aided M23.

Both countries deny the accusations.

Hague calls on M23 rebels 'to stop fighting'

I strongly condemn the M23's advance towards Goma and call on it immediately to desist from further violence.

I am particularly concerned by the risk to civilians, the population of Goma and refugees in surrounding areas. I urge those with influence over M23 to call on them to stop fighting and not to provide them any external support.

I call for a cessation of hostilities and for all parties to engage to resolve this crisis without further bloodshed.

Any British nationals in Goma should leave.

– William Hague, Foreign Secretary

DR Congo rebels 'not planning' on capturing Goma

The Congolese M23 rebels, who UN experts claim are backed by Rwanda, have reached the outskirts of Goma but claimed they do not plan to take the city.

The group claims they are within two miles of the city which is home to the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

We're not going to take the airport, we are responding to an attack by the army ... We're just doing this to break the capacity of the FARDC (Congolese army).

The situation remains under control.

– Colonel Vianney Kazarama, spokesman for the M23 rebels, told Reuters

M23 rebels advance on DR Congo city Goma

Rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have advanced to within two miles of the largest city in the area, Goma.

The M23 rebels captured Kibumba, a town 19 miles north of Goma, on Saturday and claim they can "easily" take the city.

Col. Vianney Kazarama, a spokesman for the rebels, said: "We can take Goma easily now, we have pushed the Congolese army back over 10 kilometers (six miles) in one day. We are confident that we can take Goma and then our next step will be to take Bukavu".

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Congolese warlord jailed for 14 years in landmark case

Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga Dyilo at the International Criminal Court today Credit: REUTERS/Jerry Lampen/ANP/Pool

The Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Lubanga, 51, was found guilty of war crimes in March, specifically for using child soldiers in his rebel army in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-03.

The court heard how the former militia commander abducted children as young as 11, forcing the girls into sexual slavery and training the boys to use weapons and kill.

It is the first conviction and sentencing since the ICC started work more than a decade ago.

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