War in the DRC: the M23 gives up part of its positions

War in the DRC: the M23 gives up part of its positions

This Friday, the M23 officially announced that its fighters are withdrawing from the Kibumba positions. It is about twenty kilometers from the city of Goma, capital of the province of North Kivu (Eastern DRC). The armed group explains that it wants to prove its willingness to contribute to the return to lasting peace after the recent exchanges it had with representatives of the Congolese army, the regional force of the EAC and the joint verification mechanism of the CIRGL (International Conference on the Great Lakes Region). INFO SOS Médias Burundi

It was the M23 spokesperson who announced the news on Friday.

“Despite the attacks on our positions and the continual massacre of our populations by the government coalition, the M23 supports regional efforts and agrees to hand over its positions in Kibumba, to the responsibility of the regional EAC force”, indicates a statement from the armed group signed Lawrence Kanyuka, its political spokesperson.

“We hope that the Kinshasa government will seize this opportunity with both hands and will also work to restore peace in our country”.

From December 12 to 22, the M23 met with delegations from the EAC regional force, the joint verification mechanism of the CIRGL (International Conference on the Great Lakes Region) as well as representatives of the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo).

Kilbumba, a town in Nyiragongo territory had been under M23 occupation for almost two months. Several battles between the Congolese army and the M23 took place in this area causing a massive displacement of the population.

A spokesperson for the regular army was not available to comment on this gesture of withdrawal from the M23.

But speaking to journalists from Kibumba, General Jeff Nyagah, commander of the regional force, asked civilians to “go home”, promising them that they would be safe.

Since mid-June this year, the former Tutsi rebellion, which took up arms again at the end of 2021, accusing the Congolese authorities of not having respected its commitments on the reintegration of its fighters, has taken over several localities in the province of North Kivu, including Bunagana, the border city with Uganda.

Recently, the Congolese government accused the rebel movement of having massacred 272 civilians including 17 children in two villages, the UN speaking of 130 dead, which the M23 still denies while asking for an independent investigation.

The Congolese authorities remain convinced that Rwanda provides support to the rebels, which the Rwandan government continues to brush aside.

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