Congo: 151 rebels killed in clash with army

Nov 16, 2012, 11:06 AM EST

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congolese officials say 151 M23 rebels were killed by the Congolese army in a battle in eastern Congo Thursday.

The governor of North Kivu province, Julien Paluku, speaking on the phone to The Associated Press on Friday, said the rebels suffered heavy losses. He said they attacked the army positions in the Kibumba area, 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Goma.

Paluku said the Red Cross had been sent into villages to take out bodies to prevent the spread of disease.

The army spokesman in northern Kivu, Col. Olivier Hamuli, said that two army officers were killed and seven wounded in the fighting.

The spokesman of the M23, Col. Vianney Kazarama, denied the heavy casualties, saying that only two rebels were wounded, and claimed they had killed two army officers.