(Bloomberg) -- M23 rebels fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to a ceasefire deal after a summit of African leaders gave the group an ultimatum to stop fighting or face attack. 

The mini-summit held by the six nations of the East African Community met in Luanda, Angola late this week and demanded the rebels, which Congo and United Nations experts say are backed by Rwanda, lay down their weapons by 6 p.m. on Friday or face attack by a regional military force.

The rebel group said Saturday that it offered “its gratitude to the regional leaders for their endless efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict,” M23 said in a statement. 

Eastern Congo has been embroiled in conflict since the 1990s, when violence from the aftermath of Rwanda’s civil war and genocide spread across the border. Recent tension between the two neighbors have raised the risks of renewed fighting in the region, which is rich in gold, tantalum and other resources.

The EAC announced in June that it was sending troops to eastern Congo, the alliances’ first military deployment. The group said on Saturday that peace talks would resume on Monday in Nairobi and aimed to accelerate “the ongoing regional efforts to attain sustainable peace and security” in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

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