North Kivu: the M23 accused of murdering civilians demands an independent investigation

North Kivu: the M23 accused of murdering civilians demands an independent investigation

A hundred civilians were killed by gunmen assimilated to the March 23 movement (M23) rebels this week in the village of Kisharu, Binza groupement and in Kishishe, a village in the Bambu groupement in Rutshuru territory, in the North -Kivu, in the east of the DRC, the civil society say, and about fifty civilians massacred by the M23, according to the Congolese army. The rebel movement rejects the allegations saying it’s a campaign aimed at tarnishing its image and destroying the good relations it has with the people. M23 rebels demand an independent investigation. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The facts took place in 4 days, between Sunday and Wednesday, according to the accusations.

The M23 rebels forcibly recruited about fifteen young people into their ranks in the villages of Kako, Bambo and Tongo, according to some local sources.

This information was confirmed by a lawmaker from the Rutshuru territory (North Kivu province) who denounces this situation.

Local civil society indicates that the victims include several women, young people and children whose bodies have not yet been buried.

In a press release, the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) accused the M23 on Thursday of having massacred around fifty civilians. Local civil society says the number of victims has increased with the collection of other bodies this Thursday, in the locality of Bwito.

The Congolese army has once again accused the M23 and the Rwandan army of being behind the Kishishe killings. Rwanda has always denied allegations that it supports the rebel group.

The spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, said in New York that “Monusco (UN Mission in Congo) has received reports of fighting between the M23 and the Mai Mai militias in the area” .

The M23 released a statement dated December 1 in which it denies “attacking civilians”. It rejects these allegations aimed at “tarnishing his image and his good relationship with the civilian populations of the areas under its control”.

The group calls for the opening of an independent investigation.

“Our movement rejects the baseless allegations made against it and denounces this manipulation of populations to install chaos so desired by the government of Kinshasa and its coalition”, can we read in the press release.

The M23 warns of “the ongoing genocide in Masisi”. It reiterates its commitment to direct dialogue with the government.

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