In eastern DRC’s North Kivu province, clashes are occurring between the M23 rebels, reportedly supported by Rwanda according to Kinshasa and multiple UN expert reports, and local armed groups. These battles come amidst rising tensions in the region in recent days.
For the past two days, fighting has been taking place in Masisi, North Kivu province, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, near the town of Kitshanga, a crucial point along the road connecting Saké, west of Goma, to Butembo in the northern part of the province. The confrontations, occurring on multiple fronts, pit the M23 against self-defense groups recently renamed Wazalendo. However, the situation is so confusing that it’s challenging to determine which side controls which territory.
On October 5th, the civil society reported population movements in these areas. A local official mentioned, “Civilians have been relocating to Kitshanga and Mweso, with some seeking refuge in the surrounding hills.” The civil society also mentioned that reinforcements arrived on the M23 side from Rwanda through the neighboring Rutshuru territory.
These battles do not involve the Congolese Armed Forces, emphasized Colonel Ndjike, the spokesperson for FARDC in North Kivu. He once again denounced M23 for violating the ceasefire. Last week, he accused the rebel group of deploying to new positions around Goma, the provincial capital.