Renewed Clashes Between DR Congo Forces And M23 Rebels Enter Fourth Day

At least four civilians have been killed in fresh clashes between rebels and the DR Congo army, while peace talks are being sought by governments in Luanda and Nairobi.

Fighting resumed for the fourth day between soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo national army, FARDC, and rebels of the March 23 (M23) movement in Ntamugenga in Bweza tribal group of Rutshuru territory in North Kivu.

According to the spokesperson of the Sokola 2 operational sector in North Kivu, Lt.-Colonel Njike Kaiko Guillaume, the national army is ā€œresponding efficiently to all provocationsā€.

ā€œThe enemy again tried to attack our positions in Ntamugenga where until Sunday, we have been containing them and all that you can retain for the moment is that all the initiatives of the enemy are being frustrated by the FARDC. There are already captured persons from among them. I think in the coming hours, we would present them to you. Know that your army is evolving very well on the groundā€, Lt.-Colonel Njike told journalists yesterday.

The Sokola 2 operational sector spokesperson called on the population to keep out of danger because right now, the M23 shoots at random including at civilians.

ā€œIt is rather a question that the population should have confidence in their army, they should especially keep away from the enemy because they shoot at the population going to their farms, the enemy shoots at motorcycle riders. Using the 82mm mortars, they have already caused casualties within the population. Let the population keep out of the way and allow their army, which remains determined to put an end once and for all to this enemy who only listens to the language of armsā€, Lt.-Colonel Njike said.

Clashes between the FARDC and M23 resumed on Thursday October 20 in the Rangira-Rwanguba region in Rutshuru territory after some weeks of relative calm.

The civil society has been accusing the M23 rebels of having dropped bombs on certain positions of the national army resulting to the deaths of at least four civilians.

ā€œThe FARDC has been responding professionally to the actions of the enemiesā€, revealed one civil society activist adding that the renewed clashes have forced the massive displacement of inhabitants, some of whom are now moving to Rutshuru Centre while others who were in the zone occupied by enemy are once again heading towards Uganda.

Bunagana, which is at the border with Uganda as well as other neighbouring areas in the Jomba, Bweza, Kisigari and Busanza tribal groups have been under M23 control for almost four months now.

Some relative calm was observed during the last few weeks while waiting for the results of the Nairobi and Luanda peace processes led respectively by former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and the Angolan leader Joao Lourenco.

Last week, the DR Congo government spokesperson, Patrick Muyaya said the Congolese government would not negotiate with the M23, describing the movement as terrorist. He said the DR Congo government can only negotiate with the groupā€™s sponsors, the Rwandan government.

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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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