Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Clashes between rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

France Press agency:

Civilian and security sources said that fighting resumed on Friday in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo between the rebels of the March 23 Movement and rival armed groups after ten days of calm.

The clash was reported around Bwiza, about 40 kilometers north of Goma on the M23’s western front in Masisi district.

Similar clashes were reported from the area on 6 December when the M23 agreed to a ceasefire with the DRC army.

It had declared its readiness to withdraw from the areas it had recently captured.

The withdrawal did not take place, but the ceasefire has held to some extent, but it does not include the other armed groups in the area, some of which are trying to stop the progress of the March 23 Movement.

“Fighting has resumed around us in Bueza,” a resident of Pisoa told AFP by telephone, in the villages of Suagara, Mudugodo and Kabaruzi.

He added that the March 23 Movement militia launched the attack.

The group issued a statement accusing the government coalition of violating the ceasefire.

However, a security source said that the Federal Armed Forces were “not involved” in skirmishes between the March 23 Movement and other armed groups.

Pro-Hutu groups included Nyatura and the National Alliance for a Free and Independent Congo (APCLS).

It is made up mostly of fighters from the Hundi ethnic group, in an alliance dedicated to thwarting the March 23 Movement.

“We have just expelled the enemy in Sawagara,” said League spokesman Heriter Ndangendangi.

The M23 rebels, a group of mostly Congolese Tutsis, resumed fighting in late 2021.

And this is after accusing the Democratic Republic of the Congo of failing to honor an agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.

In recent months, the group has occupied part of Rutshuru territory near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda, 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Goma.

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) found that 131 men, women and children were shot or stabbed late last month.

This was as part of reprisals against the civilian population by the March 23 Movement.

Kinshasa accuses neighboring Rwanda of supporting the rebels, but Kigali denies the accusation.


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