World

Congo: Military hunting down remaining M23 rebels after recapturing most of their towns

  • A Congolese army soldier responds to cheers from civilians as the army enters the town of Bunagana, eastern Congo, near the border with Uganda, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Congolese army retook one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels Wednesday, with fighters heading for the hills as the military sought to extinguish the 18-month insurrection, officials said. As the army recaptured the town of Bunagana, leaving the M23 with a small sliver of territory, the civilian head of their movement crossed the border into Uganda prompting calls for his immediate extradition.(AP Photo/Joseph Kay)

    A Congolese army soldier responds to cheers from civilians as the army enters the town of Bunagana, eastern Congo, near the border with Uganda, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Congolese army retook one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels Wednesday, with fighters heading for the hills as the military sought to extinguish the 18-month insurrection, officials said. As the army recaptured the town of Bunagana, leaving the M23 with a small sliver of territory, the civilian head of their movement crossed the border into Uganda prompting calls for his immediate extradition.(AP Photo/Joseph Kay)  (The Associated Press)

  • Congolese army soldier advance toward Bunagana, Congo, through formerly rebel-held territory, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Congolese army retook one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels Wednesday, with fighters heading for the hills as the military sought to extinguish the 18-month insurrection, officials said. As the army recaptured Bunagana, leaving the M23 with a small sliver of territory, the civilian head of their movement crossed the border into Uganda prompting calls for his immediate extradition.(AP Photo/Joseph Kay)

    Congolese army soldier advance toward Bunagana, Congo, through formerly rebel-held territory, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Congolese army retook one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels Wednesday, with fighters heading for the hills as the military sought to extinguish the 18-month insurrection, officials said. As the army recaptured Bunagana, leaving the M23 with a small sliver of territory, the civilian head of their movement crossed the border into Uganda prompting calls for his immediate extradition.(AP Photo/Joseph Kay)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Congolese army soldier is welcomed by locals as the army enters Jomba, Congo, during its advance toward Bunagana through rebel-held territory. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Congolese army retook one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels Wednesday, with fighters heading for the hills as the military sought to extinguish the 18-month insurrection, officials said. As the army recaptured Bunagana, leaving the M23 with a small sliver of territory, the civilian head of their movement crossed the border into Uganda prompting calls for his immediate extradition.(AP Photo/Joseph Kay)

    A Congolese army soldier is welcomed by locals as the army enters Jomba, Congo, during its advance toward Bunagana through rebel-held territory. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Congolese army retook one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels Wednesday, with fighters heading for the hills as the military sought to extinguish the 18-month insurrection, officials said. As the army recaptured Bunagana, leaving the M23 with a small sliver of territory, the civilian head of their movement crossed the border into Uganda prompting calls for his immediate extradition.(AP Photo/Joseph Kay)  (The Associated Press)

The Congolese government says soldiers are hunting down the last remaining M23 rebels in the country.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende said Friday that the remaining rebels are by three hills near Congo's borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

For the first time in an 18-month rebellion, the Congolese military has recently retaken most of the land that was under the control of the M23.

Mende said Friday that the government will pursue an offensive against those who remain unless they put down their arms.

Critics, though, have warned that M23 elements could regroup and re-emerge if they get additional help from the government of neighboring Rwanda.

Rwanda denies helping the rebels, though a United Nations experts group has published its evidence that Rwanda has provided weapons and other aid.