Armed ViolenceNews

DR Congo Soldiers, M23 Rebels Clash In North Kivu

The M23 rebel group has claimed it acted in self preservation when the DR Congo army attacked its post, but the FARDC has claimed it was attacked first by the rebels.

There was a clash between the Democratic Republic of Congo national army, FARDC, and rebels of the M23 movement in some villages of the Jomba tribal group in Rutshuru territory of North Kivu province over the weekend, the army authorities said. 

The latest clash came after more than two weeks of relative calm in the province. 

Local security sources clarified that the fighting happened around the Bugusa hill, following an allegation by the FARDC that the M23 rebels attacked their positions first.

According to Brig.-Gen. Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson of the military governor of North Kivu, “the fighting is continuing,” noting that the soldiers have to defend themselves.

“We could not allow them to continue attacking us without replying. We have been defending ourselves. We counter-attacked,” Brig.-Gen. Ekenge said.

“M23 does not want to understand the situation. We cannot allow a single centimetre of our country to be occupied. The East African Community had called for a truce but M23 had violated it.”

But the rebel movement said it was fighting in self-defence adding that its combatants “are only securing our defences after the assault by the FARDC”.

The latest clash has led to the exodus of villagers who are seeking refuge around the Ugandan border.

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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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