Masisi : FARDC try to dislodge M23, but the rebel group defies them

Masisi : FARDC try to dislodge M23, but the rebel group defies them

On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, violent fighting opposed the Congolese army to M23 rebels in several localities in the territory of Masisi in the province of North Kivu in eastern Congo. The Congolese army pounded M23 posts in part of the town of Kitchanga, which fell into rebel hands last week. But the rebellion resisted. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Clashes were reported in several places like Burungu, Kilolirwe, Kitchanga, in the chiefdom of Bashali.

“The whole day was dominated by clashes in Rusinga / Ndondo, it is more or less 2km from Kitchanga towards Mweso in the groupment of Bashali Mukoto in Masisi but also in Kitobo 3km from Kitchanga. No party pushed back the other. A FARDC plane dropped bombs on M23 posts but Kitchanga is still under the control of M23”, testified a resident of Kitchanga contacted by SOS Médias Burundi, Tuesday evening around 11 p.m.

Several families remain until now locked in the enclosure of a Monusco base (Mission of the United Nations organization in the DRC) in Kitchanga. Others did not have a place in the enclosures of the base. They stayed around. Dozens of local journalists waiting to be evacuated are hosted in the UN mission base. It must be said that other fighting were reported on the north axis towards Kishishe throughout the day. The rebels wanted to break through to the Mutanda groupment in the Bwito chiefdom, according to local sources.

Fighting resumed recently between FARDC and rebels of the March 23 movement. The two sides accuse each other of “provocation and violation of the ceasefire agreements”, the M23 justifying the resumption of hostilities by “the desire to protect the Tutsi minority targeted by a genocide planned by Kinshasa and its allies”.

The situation in eastern Congo is at the root of the deterioration of relations between the DRC and Rwanda. The two neighbors in the Great Lakes region of Africa accuse each other of sabotage.

Since the resurgence of the M23, a 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, Congolese authorities remain convinced that it enjoys the support of Rwanda. The latter rejects the allegations and in turn accuses Kinshasa of collaborating with the Rwandan FDLR genocidaires by providing them with uniforms, weapons and ammunition with the aim of “destabilizing its territory”.

After the expulsion of the Rwandan ambassador to Kinshasa and the arrest of two Rwandan nationals, employees of the African health development organization, accused of spying and “planning to shoot down a plane carrying Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi”, Congolese authorities demanded on Tuesday the withdrawal of Rwandan officers assigned to the headquarters of the regional force of the EAC, based in Goma (capital of North Kivu). This prompted Rwanda to recall all its officers deployed in various regional mechanisms based in the largest country in Central Africa, on the same day.

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