DR Congo – North Kivu Towns Being Deserted As Populations Flee From Advancing M23 Rebels

Whole villages empty ahead of the arrival of rebels from the March 23 movement as it advances through eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Inhabitants of several towns in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo have abandoned their homes ahead of an advance by rebels of the March 23 Movement.  

Towns and villages in Kiseguro and Katwiguru, are deserted as M23 advances on them. Almost completely abandoned are Kisharo and Nyamilima on the road leading to the border post of Ishasha, situated in Blinza tribal group in Rutshuru territory of North Kivu.

Shooting from heavy and light arms were heard on Sunday in Ngwenda, provoking new displacements of the inhabitants of Kiseguro, Katwiguru and Kisharo.

The DR Congo national army, FARDC, has been under repeated attacks in the zone by M23 rebels.

“We are already receiving displaced persons here in Nyamilima. They are coming from Kiseguro, Katwiguru and even from Kisharo. Our FARDC soldiers are not seen in the area. They are said to have fled in the night. We hope our soldiers have not abandoned us but are doing everything to stop the advance of the enemy”, declared a medical source in Nyamilima.

Fighting between the FARDC and the M23 rebels broke out again on Sunday November 20, 2022.

“After intense fighting in Makoka, Katwiguru and Kiseguru, the M23 rebels now occupy the localities of Katwiguru and Kiseguro. A mortar shell even destroyed three houses. Cases of looting have also been reported in several agglomerations”, revealed Delcas Lukumbu, a militant of the Social Movement for the Fight for Change, popularly known by the French acronym LUCHA.

Other gunfire has been heard around Tongo and Kibumba on the southern front but no death toll has as yet been reported.

Since the end of October, the M23 rebels have captured several big towns situated along the national highway number two in Rutshuru territory including Kalengera, Kako, Rubare, Rutshuru Centre and Kiwanja.

Traffic between Goma and Rutshuru remains suspended and some drivers who ply the Kitsanga highway in Masisi territory have been finding it very difficult to reach Goma because the road is in an advanced state of disrepair.

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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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