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M23 rebels seize another town in eastern DRC

FILE - M23 rebels load a pickup truck in Kibumba, in the eastern of Democratic Republic of Congo

FILE - M23 rebels load a pickup truck in Kibumba, in the eastern of Democratic Republic of Congo

The M23 rebels have seized another town in the war-torn east of DR Congo, as the rebels gain more ground, sources told AFP Sunday.

Kinshasa accuses Rwanda of backing the Tutsi-led M23 rebel group which has seized swathes of eastern DR Congo in an ongoing offensive launched in 2021 — something Kigali denies. On Sunday the M23 (March 23 Movement) moved into the town of Kirumba, in North Kivu province, which has been rocked by violence since 2021 when the group resumed its armed campaign in the region.

Kirumba is the biggest town in the south of the Lubero territory, where the group has been advancing, and a big commercial center with more than 120,000 residents.

"We regret that the large entity (the town) has since yesterday evening been in the hands of the M23," a local official, who did not wish to be named, told AFP Sunday.

He said the group was now heading north from the town.

"They are numerous, some arrived on foot and others in vehicles," a civil society leader, who asked to remain unnamed, told AFP.

During a meeting with residents on Sunday, the M23 said, "they are going to Butembo and Beni, then to Kinshasa (DRC capital)," a participant told AFP over the telephone.

"Go tell the population of Butembo that we are on route (there), we will arrive everywhere," M23 General Gaceri Justin said during the meeting, according to a recording heard by AFP.

Strategic town

On Saturday M23 seized the strategic town of Kanyabayonga, as other surrounding areas also fell into the hands of the rebels. Kanyabayonga is home to more than 60,000 people and tens of thousands of people have fled there in recent months, driven from their homes by the advance of the rebels.

The town is considered a pathway to Butembo and Beni in the north, strongholds of the Nande tribe and major commercial centers.

It is in the Lubero territory, the fourth territory in the North Kivu province that the group has entered after Rutshuru, Nyiragongo and Masisi. Other towns near Kanyabayonga have also been seized by M23, according to officials and security sources.

Five people including three civilians and two soldiers were killed in the town of Kayna where the rebels took control Saturday, Console Sindani, vice president of Kayna civil society, told AFP Sunday. The mayor of the commune of Kayna, Clovis Kanyauru, told AFP on Sunday there had been three deaths.

President Felix Tshisekedi held a meeting of DR Congo's defense council Saturday. During a speech to mark the country's Independence Day, Tshisekedi said "clear and firm instructions have been given for the safeguarding of the territorial integrity of our country," without giving more details.

DR Congo's mineral-rich east has been the scene of violence for 30 years by armed groups, both local and foreign-based, going back to regional wars of the 1990s.


+2 #1 kabayekka 2024-07-01 20:49
Indeed this is an African ethnic warfare that is not likely to end soon! One wonders how these rebels are going to succeed to walk all the way to Kishasa about a thousand miles.

One hopes they have all the Goodwill of the various African ethnic tribes they are going to cross! It is no use taking a brutal civil war all across Africa in the name of Pan-African liberation! Many modern African peoples are well aware of the lies concerning African liberation adventures!
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+2 #2 Rwigyema 2024-07-02 01:47
Paul Kagame will shiver when he stands in front of the gates of Heaven for judgement.. RIP to all the bodies he has dropped
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+1 #3 Akot 2024-07-02 12:34
Rwigyema, thanks.

Paul Kagame is a very happy demon, just like his brother Museveni, reason they can't live in their motherland, Rwanda & make it a real country!

Museveni is making Uganda his own motherland, as Sudanese Amin & gave 2 birth places in Uganda!

Ugandans MUST bring down the tribalistic system & UNITE, or they are doomed for good; Kagame cannot be opposed in his motherland! But his brother Museveni colonised Uganda & only Ugandans can stop him in UNITY!
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