Hundreds of rebels withdrew on Friday from frontline positions around Goma as promised under a regionally brokered deal, as police entered the key eastern city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) to take over control.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against two rebel leaders accused of killing children and others who tried to flee their force.
The council said it had ordered a global travel ban and assets freeze against Baudoin Ngaruye and Innocent Kaina, both top military leaders of the M23 movement which has grabbed territory in eastern DR Congo.
The M23 rebels, army mutineers who seized Goma last week in a lightning advance, have said they will withdraw 20km from the city, the main town in the DR Congo’s mineral-rich east.
However, even as rebel forces started to pull back, M23 military leader Sultani Makenga accused UN peacekeepers (MONUSCO) — to whom the gunmen have agreed to hand over the territory — of “beginning to block” the movement of rebel equipment out of Goma.
UN spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai said MONUSCO had barred M23 from entering the airport because control of the facility had not yet been assigned to a three-way force made up of UN, M23 and regular army forces.