DR Congo Launches Offensive Against M23 Rebel Positions in The East

Thu May 23 2024
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GOMA, DR Congo: Troops launched an offensive against M23 rebel positions in eastern Congo on Wednesday, the army said, as residents reported fighting on several fronts in North Kivu province.

Backed by the “wazalendo” or patriotic militia, the army “launched an offensive early this morning on May 22,” FARDC spokesman Lt. Col. Guillaume Ndjike said on X.

He said several locations had already been recaptured from the rebels, who Western powers and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo say are backed by Rwandan troops.

Locals from the provincial capital Goma said fighting was ongoing in the Masisi and Rutshuru areas northwest of the provincial capital.

“There has been fighting here since morning,” said a civil society representative in Bweremana, about 15 kilometers from Goma.

“There has been shelling from Minova in the direction of (hill) Ndumba and Kabasa, where fighting is raging,” said a resident of the northern town of Minova in neighboring South province of Kivu, which has only recently been affected by the widening conflict.

The Tutsi-led M23 resumed its armed campaign in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2021 and seized a swath of territory, virtually encircling Goma.

At the end of April, the rebels captured the mining town of Rubaya in Masisi territory in North Kivu.

The city’s mines contain strategic minerals used in electronics, including coltan.

The UN estimated at the end of 2023 that nearly seven million people had been displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including 2.5 million in North Kivu alone.

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