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18 Killed As Fighting Resumes Between M23 and DRC Forces


18 people have been killed during Intense fighting between M23 Rebels and DRC Forces.

Fighting resumed on Monday in Nyanzare and neighboring surroundings, in Bwito chiefdom, Rutshuru territory, particularly in villages surrounding the town of Nyanzale and Matete village, located between Kishishe and Kirima along the Mabenga road, after a week of a lull on all the fronts.  

According to a source, bombs dropped by the belligerents in several areas of Nyanzale did not spare the lives of 18 civilians. A source also told our reporter on condition of anonymity that during the fighting, 10 more civilians were wounded by the dropped bombs that fell into a United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) base in Khondo.   

Despite a highly placed source confirming the numbers to our reporter, both M23 rebels and the government army are yet to release an official statement commenting on the deaths and casualties.  

On Tuesday, fighting happened in Ngoroba as M23 rebels advanced towards Ngoroba and entered the locality of Kashalira to try to cut the Kibirizi-Nyanzale road. 

Heavy gunfire was also heard in the evening hours in Kishishe as the government army launched assaults against M23 positions.  Violent clashes also happened in the evening hours in Nyanzale town, specifically on Mushweshwe Hill.  

At around 9:30 pm, after a day of intense fighting, a reliable source also confirmed to our reporter that M23 rebels captured Nyanzale town.  M23 fighters first overflowed from Ngoroba and entered the locality of Kashalira before capturing the strategic military position of Majengo which was considered the last security barrier of Nyanzale.   

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Lawrence Kanyuka, M23 rebels’ political spokesperson, released a statement on Monday at 10:50 pm, accusing the government army and coalition of attacking M23 positions which made M23 respond with fire too.        

“On 4, March 2024, the coalition forces of the Kinshasa regime, including the FARDC, FDLR, MERCENARIES, MILITIA, BURUNDI NATIONAL DEFENSE FORCES, and SADC FORCES, attacked densely populated areas in Mabenga, Katsiru, Nyanzale and their surroundings.

Our forces professionally defended targeted civilian populations. It is crucial to emphasize that the Kinshasa regime persists in its war crimes and crimes against humanity. Our commitment to protecting civilian populations remains unwavering, despite provocations”, Kanyuka said in a statement.

Despite heavy fighting, FARDC soldiers and militia coalition under their umbrella Wazalendo (Patriots) and troops under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are yet to recover any position captured by M23 rebels.  

In March 2022, M23 led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga launched a war against the government. 

The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of backing M23, but Rwanda and M23 strongly deny it.  The rebels claim to fight against bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination. 

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