DRC: Congolese army accuses M23 rebellion of deploying to new positions

It is a rise in tension in eastern DRC between the Congolese army and the M23 rebellion. The Kinshasa authorities had given members of the movement until 24 September to liberate the occupied areas. Otherwise, "we will do everything to ensure that our compatriots return home," warned Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula. Ultimatum expired three days ago. Now, the Congolese army accuses the rebellion of having deployed in new positions.

[Illustrative image] A view of a road in the territory of Masisi (eastern DR Congo), in March 2022. AFP - ALEXIS HUGUET

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The M23 rebellion had occupied these positions in the past and handed them over to the forces of the East African Community, the EAC. According to the Congolese army, and its spokesman in North Kivu, Colonel Ndjike, M23 rebels have been reported in several localities in Masisi territory, including along the road linking Sake to Butembo via Kitshanga.

In the neighbouring territory of Nyiragongo, the armed group is reported to have returned to the vicinity of Kibumba. It is a strategic place since it is often considered one of the last locks before Goma, the provincial capital. According to the statement of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC), yesterday, the M23 attempted a breakthrough in this area, even going so far as to "place the Kenyan contingent of the EAC behind its lines". According to the Congolese army, the FARDC and the regional force have succeeded in pushing them back, but adds that this provocation "raises serious concerns".

These movements on the ground could end several months of status quo in this area. Many observers are raising the possibility of renewed fighting, especially since the 24 September deadline has passed.

" READ ALSO DRC: the UN is concerned about the abuses of the M23 and the emergence of self-defense groups

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  • DRC
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