Rutshuru: clashes reported between the M23 and the Mai-Mai

Rutshuru: clashes reported between the M23 and the Mai-Mai

Clashes were reported on Monday between rebels of the March 23 movement, M23, and the Mai-Mai. The fighting was reported in Kisharu, about thirty kilometers from Kiwanja-centre in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province in eastern DRC. Several residents were forced to flee their locality following these clashes. The M23 says it defended itself. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Local sources in Nyamilima indicate that many residents of Kisharu have taken the direction of Kihito, east of their village.

Others preferred to hide under the beds. They did not come out of their house until after the withdrawal of the Mai-Mai militiamen.

Our sources say that the M23 “now controls the locality of Mirambi which, until Monday, was considered a neutral zone”.

The Mai-Mai and the M23 are not at their first clashes in Kisharu.

At the end of November 2022, the two sides clashed in this village causing enormous damage.

After taking control of three other villages, the local civil society warns of the progress of the M23 towards the locality of Ishasha, on the border with Uganda.

It accuses the M23 rebels of having looted in households during their passage.

“We don’t have this culture of looting, killing or raping women. It’s their culture, the FARDC and their allies”, M23 spokesman Canesius Karemera Munyarugero told SOS Médias Burundi.

Mr. Munyarugero acknowledges that there was fighting “between our movement and the FARDC and their Mai-Mai allies and the FDLR” on Sunday and Monday. But he explains that the M23 defended itself.

“We are observing the ceasefire as the heads of state have requested through the Luanda (Angola) and Nairobi (Kenya) agreements. But if they attack us, we are forced to defend ourselves and repel them. This is what happened on Monday and Sunday”, added the M23 spokesperson.

Canesius Karemera Munyarugero speaks of “provocations”.

Some sources in North Kivu have confirmed the death of at least eight M23 fighters since last Sunday, which its spokesperson denies.

“They are going to say that it was Rwanda that attacked. Who are these killed combatants? Can they give their identity?”, protested Mr. Munyarugero.

The security situation in eastern Congo continues to be a source of conflict between Congo and Rwanda, with Congolese authorities remaining convinced that this armed group made up of Congolese Tutsis enjoys Rwanda’s support.

In his message to the nation delivered Saturday, December 31 in Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame accused the international community of “paying lip service to peace” and “pampering Congolese leaders to protect its interests”.

The former Tutsi rebellion which took up arms again at the end of 2021 accusing Congolese authorities of not having respected its commitments on the reintegration of its fighters recently ceded part of its posts to the regional force of the EAC, after having been accused of having massacred civilians in two villages under its occupation.

It has always denied these allegations and called for an independent investigation.

The M23 has controlled several localities in North Kivu since mid-June, including Bunagana, the border town with Uganda.

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