Eastern Congo militia groups sign peace deal with government

Years of fighting in Congo's restive east ended - on paper at least - as warlords and militia fighters signed a long-awaited peace accord with the government of the Central African country. The deal signed late Wednesday commits all sides to an immediate cease-fire, followed by the pulling back of fighters from key areas that will then become a UN-patrolled buffer zone, said Vital Kamerhe, a government spokesman for the talks. Five years after the end of back-to-back wars that destroyed much of Congo, sporadic violence has continued to plague the eastern border region. Local militias regularly clash with each other, with army forces and with perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide who fled over the shared border to eastern Congo's little-policed hills. Rights groups have accused all sides of rape campaigns and of forcing underage boys to enlist as fighters.