In the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), M23 rebels and pro-government armed groups have once again clashed in the past two days.
According to the Congolese army spokesperson in North Kivu, a soldier from the East African Community (EAC) regional force died due to mortar fire in Kibumba. On Tuesday, the fighting intensified and moved closer to the major city of Goma.
The clashes began at dawn on Tuesday, as reported by various local and security sources, in the vicinity of Kibumba, a locality situated about twenty kilometers north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.
Officially, these clashes pitted M23 rebels against pro-government armed groups. However, the Congolese army, which claims to respect the ceasefire, may have been involved in the fighting alongside the militias, known as the “patriots.” In a statement from the North Kivu governorate, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) maintain an ambiguous position, stating that “measures have been taken to respond to all eventualities” following an attack on one of their positions.
The day before, on October 23, Congolese authorities accused M23 rebels of killing dozens of civilians in the Tongo area, a claim disputed by M23.
Additionally, the government released drone footage showing a new column of Rwandan troops present in the DRC’s North Kivu region. It’s worth noting that Kigali has been accused by Kinshasa and the United Nations of supporting M23 insurgents.
Meanwhile, at least 26 civilians died on Tuesday in an attack attributed to the ADF rebels. During the night from Monday to Tuesday, assailants targeted a peripheral neighborhood in the town of Oicha, located about twenty kilometers north of Beni.
According to witnesses, they looted and primarily used edged weapons for the killings. Authorities have identified the attackers as ADF militiamen, a group originating from Uganda that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist group four years ago. They are currently active in North Kivu.
The armed group is accused of killing two foreign tourists and their guide in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth Park last week.
Angry protesters set fire to humanitarian vehicles that were about to distribute aid, chanting, “We don’t need humanitarian assistance; we want security.”