KINSHASA, Congo — The leader of Congo's M23 rebels say they are declaring a unilateral ceasefire and pulling out of the area that has seen the heaviest fighting in recent days in order to "give peace a chance," as well as to allow an investigation into the shelling of civilian neighborhoods.
Reached by telephone Friday, M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa said his troops had already started retreating from Kanyaruchinya, a village just north of the provincial capital, Goma.
Created in 2012, the M23 rebels succeeded in seizing and briefly holding Goma last year. That prompted the United Nations to create a special intervention brigade, which has been pounding rebel positions for the past week.
The announcement is the first indication that the week-long offensive against the rebels might have turned a corner.