M23 Rebels Claim Capture of Nyamilima town

The M23 rebels have claimed that they have captured Nyamilima town in the Rutshuru territory of North Kivu Province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The town is located about 19 kilometres from the Ishasha-Kanungu border between Uganda and the DRC. Area residents said that the first column of the rebels entered the town using Kibarabara road and deployed at a defence base that the Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) abandoned nearly two and a half months. 

The base had been recently occupied by local self-defence-armed men to stop M23 from advancing. A resident who only identified himself as Kavadel says that another column of rebels who were firing gunshots proceeded towards Humule as they patrolled the whole town.

The other says he saw rebels entering from the street commonly known as Kivisire and headed towards Christian Assembly church that hosts a local radio station. He says that the M23 did not meet resistance from local self-defence-armed men who have since fled the area.   

Maj Willy Ngoma, M23 military spokesperson confirmed the capture of Nyamilima but did not divulge details about the matter. The capture of Nyamirima, which gives the M23 rebels more chances of capturing the Ishasha border, comes a day after the group captured Kisharo also in Binza Groupement after heavy fighting with self-defence armed men.

The capture of Kibumba came in preparation for the handover of the second position of Rumangabo in Rutshuru territory to the East African Community Regional Force today Thursday.

The East African Community Regional forces have already arrived in Rumangabo pending the official handover.  The presence of M23 in North Kivu province has soared the impasse between the DRC and Rwanda, as DRC authorities accuse the Kagame administration of backing the rebels. Rwanda has consistently denied the accusations.

The M23 rebels claim that they’re seeking the DRC government to honour a peace agreement signed in 2013, which allows the reintegration of the armed forces into society, denounces hate speech, and repatriation all refugees among other issues.

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