The March 23 (M23) rebel movement has said any ceasefire as announced in the Angolan capital, Luanda, on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, between President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda “does not concern the M23”.
“We are Congolese and not Rwandans. If there is a ceasefire, that can only be between the Congolese government and us,” declared Willy Ngoma, spokesperson of the M23.
New clashes were reported on Thursday, July 7, between the DR Congo national army, FARDC and M23 rebels in Kanyabusoro situated in Rutshuru territory, suggesting that the rebels have rejected the ceasefire accord.
A commander of the FARDC accused the M23 rebels of attacking FARDC soldiers who were in the town in violation of the ceasefire announced on Wednesday, an accusation the M23 has denied, accusing the FARDC of having attacked its elements.
The M23 movement is a Tutsi-dominated rebellion that was defeated in 2013 but took up arms again last year, accusing the Kinshasa authorities of not respecting the terms of demobilisation and reinsertion accords for its fighters.
DR Congo has repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebellion, accusations the Rwandans contest.
A mediation meeting between President Kagame of Rwanda and Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo was held on Wednesday in Luanda under the auspices of the Angolan president Joao Lourenco.
“I have the pleasure of announcing that we have obtained positive results because we have agreed on a ceasefire,” said President Joao Lourenco after the Wednesday meeting.
Before the Angolan president’s announcement, the DR Congo presidency had announced that Felix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame had agreed on a “de-escalation process”.
The presidency added, “a roadmap has been adopted envisaging the immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate withdrawal without conditions of M23 from its positions in DR Congo”.
“The roadmap does not involve the M23”, declared Willy Ngoma in Goma, adding, “we are Congolese; we do not have anything with Rwanda. We are being told to leave here, but going where? That is impossible.”
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