Fighting resumes in northeast Congo between army and M23 rebels

Fighting resumes in northeast Congo between army and M23 rebels

In this May 24, 2022 photo, people walk along the road near Kibumba, north of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, as they flee fighting between Congolese forces and M 23 rebels in North Kivu. MOSES SAWASAWA AP KINSHASA Fighting resumed early Monday between the army and rebels of March 23 Movement M 23 in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo DRC a spokesman for the Armed Forces of the DRC FARDC confirmed on Monday.

Colonel Ndjike Kaiko, a spokesman for FARDC based in Goma, the capital of North Kivu, said the FARDC woke up early Monday under fire from the M 23 enemy and its allies in the Ishangi area.

Bertrand Bisimwa, one of the M 23 leaders, said on his Twitter account that the FARDC attacked the M 23 position with the idea of sabotaging the recommendations of the UN Security Council which calls for the resumption of the Nairobi dialogue, an ongoing negotiation bringing together the Congolese authorities and several armed groups to find a peaceful solution.

In a press conference held late Sunday in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi accused the Rwandan government of supporting M 23 rebels in their recent offensives on Congolese soil.

Over the past month, intense fighting has resumed between the DRC armed forces and M 23 rebels in North Kivu, a province in northeastern DRC bordering Rwanda. Kinshasa accused Kigali of supporting the rebel movement. Rwanda has denied any involvement.

Congolese army soldiers return to Kibumba with their luggage and weapons after spending time on the frontlines a few miles from the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on June 1, 2022. GUERCHOM NDEBO AFP The M 23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People CNDP. The name came from the March 23, 2009 agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government.

M 23, who claims the DRC government had breached the peace deal in 2009, briefly seized Goma, capital of North Kivu province in late 2012 before being pushed back by the army the following year. M 23 has been fighting with the army in the region since late 2021.