Democratic Republic of the CongoRwanda

M23 Rebel Group Seizes Democratic Republic Of Congo’s Eastern-Border Town

The M23 rebel group on Monday confirmed that it has seized the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Bunagana town, reported Reuters.

According to some local sources, M23 fighters seized the town of Bunagana in North Kivu province as some government forces retreated into Uganda.

 “The Rwandan defense forces have this time decided to violate … our territorial integrity by occupying the border town of Bunagana,” General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu province, said in a statement.

He added that taking the key border town constituted “no less than an invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo”.

Notably, Congo has repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing the M23, whose leadership hails from the same Tutsi ethnic group as Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The Rwandan government has not yet given any reaction on the issue, but it continues to deny accusations over the years that it supports the M23 rebels fighting in DRC.

The relations between Rwanda and Congo have remained sour for decades. Rwanda alleges that DRC backed ethnic Hutus who were responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which at least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were brutally killed.

The two nations have long accused each other of supporting rival armed groups.

The M23 rebels briefly captured Goma in 2012 but they were forced to retreat by UN troops and the Congolese army. The rebel group resumed fighting last year after accusing the DRC government of failing to respect a 2009 agreement under which the army was to incorporate its fighters.

On Sunday, the DRC government reiterated that the Rwandan army was backing the rebels.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the United Nation’s refugee agency said that 368 more people had fled across the border into Uganda from Bunagana due to the clashes and that the humanitarian situation was more and more concerning.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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