Over 20 soldiers of the DR Congo national army, FARDC, have been reported killed on Tuesday, Jan. 25 by M23 rebels in the east of the country.
Local sources said the military authorities have not confirmed the casualty figures as they were yet to access the difficult terrain where the killings took place. Humanitarian workers in the area have not also confirmed the figures.
The attack took place on the night of Monday to Tuesday, Jan. 25, against a position of the FARDC situated near the Virunga national park in Nyesisi, Rutshuru territory of North Kivu.
Clashes were still continuing on Wednesday, Jan. 26, according to civil society and local administration sources.
Gentil Karabukala, President of the civil society in the Kisigari tribal group, a locality near Nyesisi, said the number of soldiers killed stands at 29.
Lt.-Col. Muhindo Lwanzo, Director of Cabinet to the administrator of Rutshuru revealed that among the dead soldiers was one colonel adding that the M23 rebels also lost several of their fighters.
The Kivu Security Barometer (KSB), citing “several local sources and members of the FARDC” noted that “at least 26 soldiers were killed.”
The M23 movement, which also calls itself the Revolutionary Army of Congo, is an old rebel movement made up of Tutsis supported by Rwanda and Uganda which was defeated in 2013. It is accused of attacking FARDC positions since November last year.
Willy Ngome, a spokesperson of the movement, revealed that their fighters were “only responding to attacks against our positions by the FARDC since October.”
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Ituri province, an attack launched in Irumu territory and attributed to ADF rebels resulted in the deaths of at least 11 persons, according to the KSB which has experts on the ground in the troubled eastern DR Congo.
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