DR Congo Legislators Want UN, AU To Declare M23 Movement A Terror Group

The parliamentarians said the M23 Movement, like the ADF rebel group, should be categorised as a terror group following its recent attacks across DR Congo.

National parliamentarians representing constituencies in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo have called on the country’s government to demand that the United Nations and the African Union declare the March 23 (M23) rebel movement a terror group.

“Faced with the gravity of the situation, we demand the government of the republic to urgently contact the United Nations Security Council, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union as well as the different sub-regional mechanisms with a view to finding the necessary solution and to declare the M23 as a terrorist group like the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF),” the lawmakers said in a statement issued on Tuesday, May 24.

They also declared their support to (the DR Congo national army) FARDC, and “invited all the Congolese people to rally behind it as one man to chase the enemy out of the national territory”.

The parliamentarians lamented that while efforts were focused on restoring peace in Beni where the ADF has been active and Ituri where CODECO and other armed groups operate, the M23, supported by the Rwandan army, has been waging war against DR Congo since March 2022.

“Clashes with our security and defence forces have resulted in several deaths and uncoordinated displacement of populations in the territories of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo, creating another dramatic humanitarian situation for a population already bruised for several decades,” they said.

“Actually, the town of Goma and its environs are in distress because of the attack on the Rumangabo military camp and the blockage of the Goma-Rutshuru road from Kibumba in the Nyiragongo territory by M23 assailants who came from the Rwandan border.”

“This situation with incalculable socio-economic consequences has also come to stop final year students of certain secondary schools from sitting their 2022 state exams”, the parliamentarians regretted.”

The DR Congo army and M23 rebels have in the last few days been clashing on several fronts in North Kivu, causing continued displacement of the populations.

After some relative calm, fighting resumed around Kibumba in the Nyiragongo territory, about 20 km to the north of Goma causing the blocking of the national highway number four which is vital to the supply of basic necessities to Goma with a population of about one million inhabitants, according to local security sources.

At the same time, clashes were reported in the north of Rutshuru territory on the Bunagana highway on the Ugandan border and Rumangabo, the military base where the head office of the Virunga National Park, celebrated for its mountain gorillas is located.

Since the resumption of clashes with the M23, about 26,000 persons have fled from their villages and found refuge in neighbouring localities or in Uganda where several other Congolese took cover during previous clashes, a communique by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) revealed.

All these clashes are taking place in the middle of renewed tensions between Rwanda and DR Congo.

Rwanda on Monday 23, 2022 accused the Congolese army of having fired rockets at Rwandan territory wounding several civilians, while the DR Congo army accused the Rwandans of supporting the M23 rebels.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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