Fierce fighting opposed, this Thursday, October 27, the Congolese armed forces to the rebels of the M23, who took up arms again at the end of 2021. The clashes took place not far from the national road 2, a strategic axis linking Goma, capital of North Kivu, other cities in the east of the country and Uganda, we learned from local sources.
After several weeks of calm, clashes resumed on October 20 in the territory of Rutshuru, about fifty km north of Goma, causing new population displacements.
Après Bunagna, He is not free
“There are clashes on the RN2, the road is cut off at Kako and Kalengera », confirmed at midday a local official, Justin Komayombi. According to testimonies, panicked inhabitants of the two villages and other neighboring localities, including Nyesisi, fled. In the morning, “we had heard gunshots towards the hills. Afterwards, we fled when the situation got worse,” added Aimé Nsambimana, a farmer from Nyesisi, whom he met in a camp for displaced people in Nyiragongo territory, located further south. “The M23 fired a lot of bullets in our village, that’s why we had to flee for our lives,” said Anita Sikuzote, a mother of six children.
DRC: in the East, Monusco keeps a low profile
“The M23 has been on the offensive” since the evening of Wednesday 26, notably occupying the RN2 in Rubare, Kalengera, Kako on Thursday, and continuing to attack army positions, wrote the Kivu Security Barometer on Twitter ( KST), which has experts in the region. The M23 seized the village of Ntamugenga on October 23, about 4 km east of the RN2, four months after taking that of Bunagana, on the night of June 12 to 13.
No overall assessment of these new clashes is currently available, but residents reported on Sunday at least ten dead and dozens injured. On Thursday, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the secretary UN General, however, claimed that Monusco had reported “that at least 9 civilians had been killed [la veille] “. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) in the DRC estimated that on October 25, around 34,500 people were “newly displaced in Rutshuru territory”.
US discusses Rwandan support for M23
On the diplomatic front, the spokesman for the Congolese government, Patrick Muyaya, welcomed on Thursday statements made before the UN by an American ambassador, Robert Wood, who spoke of Rwandan support for the M23. During a meeting on the Great Lakes region, Robert Wood indeed declared that the attacks attributed to the numerous armed groups raging in the east of the DRC had “killed more than 2,000 civilians this year”. “The United States demands that armed groups stop their attacks,” he added. We also call on state actors to stop supporting these groups, including the assistance provided by the Rwanda Defense Forces to M23”.
Eastern DRC: Can Felix Tshisekedi really count on the joint regional force?
“We welcome the US government’s clear stance against Rwanda’s support for M23. Other countries should [lui] follow suit, ”reacted Patrick Muyaya on Twitter. For months, Kinshasa has accused Kigali of supporting the M23, which Rwanda continues of nier.