The national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo, FARDC, has recaptured some positions formerly occupied by M23 rebels in Ngugo of Rugari group and Nyasisi in Kisigari group, within the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu, after clashes which have been ongoing since last weekend.
According to Eric Mashagiro, leader of the Rugari tribal group, the army has continued to carry out mopping up operations.
These recent clashes have led to the displacement of several villagers within the two groups, Mashagiro revealed, adding that the displaced persons are yet to return to their villages of origin.
“The displaced persons are still there where they left their homes during the recent attacks,” he said.
Mashagiro said the army has already dislodged the enemy from positions in Ngugo and Nyasisi.
“They are now carrying out mopping up operations but prudence has made us tell the population to remain where they are for now while waiting for the army to decide whether they can return to their homes. The army has already recaptured the positions which were formerly occupied by the rebel groups.”
According to his accounts, normal activities continue in other areas of Rugari as “children are going to school and farmers equally go to their farms.”
Movement between Goma and Rutshuru is equally normal, he added.
“The army is doing a great job. They are cleaning the zone. We estimate that sooner or later, we shall call on the inhabitants to return to their homes after consultation with the army which is on the ground.”
Clashes resumed by midday around Rugari after an army position was attacked on Sunday, Nov. 21 in Ngugo, a village situated on the periphery of the Virunga national park, about forty kilometres from Goma.
An ecoguard position in the Virunga park had earlier been attacked Saturday, Nov. 20, in Bunakima resulting in the death of one of the most experienced rangers in the management of the park.
Local sources and the army through its spokesperson, Lt.-Col. Guillaume Njike Kaiko have accused the M23 of being responsible for the attacks.
On Nov. 7, clashes between the national army and M23 combatants that had succeeded in occupying hills around Chanzu and Runyoni, not far from Bunagana, a border area between DR Congo and Uganda, led to the recapturing of all the positions held by the rebels.
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