M23 Blame FARDC, Wazalendo For North Kivu Deaths

The March 23 Movement (M23) rebels have accused the Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers and militia coalition, Wazalendo for the death of eight people in a bomb blast in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province.

On Wednesday night last week, a bomb exploded in Lubwe-South village, Bwito Chiefdom Tongo groupement, Rutshuru territory killing eight people and injuring 17 others.

The device fell from the hands of a militiaman, according to the deputy official of the governor in the chiefdom of Bwito, Isaac Kibira. The casualties are admitted at Kabizo hospital, in the neighbouring Bambo groupement.        

In a statement dated July 20 and released on Friday evening, Lawrence Kanyuka, M23 rebels’ political spokesperson accused the FARDC soldiers and militia coalition of dropping bombs in the area.

Kanyuka also accused FARDC and Wazalendo of launching an assault against M23 positions despite ceasefire orders by East African Community Heads of State summits resolutions. Kanyuka calls for investigations by the international community into the matter.      

Kanyuka was backed by Bertrand Bisimwa, the M23 President saying that the FARDC and militia coalition launching fresh war yet there are ceasefire orders is unacceptable.

“Shredded bodies and other amputees lie on the ground of Mulimbi/Lubwe-sud following the shelling by the government coalition of Kinshasa Fardc/Fdlr/Reservists on Wednesday 07/19/2023. 8 civilians killed and 17 seriously injured including women and children. This is unacceptable”, Bisimwa says.

The area, has for several weeks, been the scene of regular clashes between M23 rebels and the militia coalition. 12 people were on July 16, 2023, killed in Bukombo groupement, in Rutshuru territory.

FARDC accused M23 rebels of being behind the massacre. M23 strongly denied claims that all the dead were armed militia who died on the frontline.

Despite the presence of troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan deployed in the territories of Masisi, Nyiragongo and Rutshuru fighting between the belligerents has not completely stopped.

M23 launched a war against the DR Congo government, specifically the North Kivu province in March 2022. 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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