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DRC: new fighting between army and M23, new arms pass between Kinshasa and Kigali

The DRC accuses Kigali of supporting the M23, which Rwanda denies.

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DRC: new fighting between army and M23, new arms pass between Kinshasa and Kigali

The DRC accuses Kigali of supporting the M23, which Rwanda denies.

"Contrary to the statements of the President of the DRC (claiming) that his country is focused on a diplomatic resolution of the conflict (...), recent statements and actions" show that Kinshasa is "on the path of a continuous military escalation" , Rwandan authorities said in a statement.

"Since October 20, in its usual strategy of barbarism, the M23, Rwanda's auxiliary, has attacked the positions of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, again causing unnecessary deaths and thousands of displaced people", said his accused side during a weekly press briefing in Kinshasa Patrick Muyaya, Minister of Communication and government spokesperson. "We were forced to react," he added.

An official report released Sunday evening by the army reported four civilians killed and 40 injured during the fighting which resumed Thursday in the territory of Rutshuru (province of North Kivu) after several weeks of calm.

In the morning, a resident of Ntamugenga, Jean-Baptiste Mapendo, questioned by telephone from Goma, capital of the province of North Kivu, mentioned seven dead, buried Monday morning "before the resumption of fighting". In the evening, he indicated that the balance sheet had risen to ten dead.

On Sunday, the chief of this village announced that he had just been taken by the M23 ("March 23 Movement"), a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion which took up arms again at the end of 2021, accusing Kinshasa of not having respected agreements on the reintegration of its combatants.

The M23 has since conquered ground in the province of North Kivu, notably in June the city of Bunagana, on the border with Uganda.

- Diplomatic initiatives -

"The population is still locked up in Ntamugenga hospital, other residents are in schools, churches and the convent," said Gédéon Serugari, leader of the Bweza groupement, in which Ntamugenga is located, a village located about 4 km from the RN2, strategic road serving Goma.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Sunday that 500 people, some injured, had taken refuge in a convent in Ntamugenga. The NGO called for the creation of a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) in the DRC, at least 23,000 people have been displaced by this violence since October 20, a figure including 2,500 inhabitants who crossed the Ugandan border.

Since March, "the clashes have displaced at least 186,000 people, bringing the total number of displaced people in Rutshuru territory to more than 396,000", according to the same source.

"We call on all armed groups to respect international humanitarian law" and to allow organizations "to access the people who need it most", said in New York Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary General of the United Nations. .

In his press briefing, Patrick Muyaya mentioned the diplomatic initiatives launched in Nairobi, Luanda or on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York by French President Emmanuel Macron, who had brought together Congolese and Rwandan Presidents Félix Tshisekedi. Paul Kagame, in an attempt to bring peace to the region.

Also mentioning the recent visit to London by the Congolese Head of State, he recalled that he had met King Charles III. The two leaders "agreed on the need to combine efforts, and the king promised to get involved, to put enough pressure on Rwanda to stop all these killings in the eastern part of the DRC", he said. he declares.

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