M23 Rebels Declare Cease Fire

The M23 rebels have declared a cease-fire through all fronts in the North Kivu province in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to pave way for the political process to take place. 

In his statement issued on Tuesday, Lawrence Kanyuka, the M23 political spokesperson, said that a decision has been reached in fulfillment of the outcomes of consultations between M23 and João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of Angola, and the decisions taken in different regional summits held in Bujumbura, Nairobi, and Addis Ababa aimed at finding peaceful solutions to the ongoing conflicts in eastern DR Congo.    

“The M23 takes this opportunity to thank all the regional leaders and 1nternauonal partners who have made efforts to listen and understand its problems and for their endless efforts to restore Peace and Security in the Eastern DRC. From the foregoing, the M23 calls on other Regional leaders and international partners to spare no effort in contributing to the current initiatives aimed at the restoration of   Peace and Stability in the Eastern DRC and the  Region as a whole,” reads the statement.

According to the statement, the ceasefire takes immediate effect and M23 commits itself to resolving the conflict peacefully. “The M23 reiterates its undertaken commitment to peacefully resolve the ongoing conflict in Eastern DRC, but also reserves the full right to defend itself once attacked by the DRC government coalition of FAROC FDLR, NYATURA APCLS, PARECO, NDC-R, MAl MAI, and MERCENARIES. The M23 will not spare any effort to protect the civilian population and their belongings,” reads the statement.      

However, M23 warns that it will not hesitate to defend itself once attacked by the Congolese government troops and its militia coalition comprising Mai Mai, Nyatura, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and Wegner mercenaries among others. 

The M23 cease-fire declaration came as 100 Burundian soldiers were deploying in Sake town, 27 kilometers west of Goma city under the East African Community Regional Force to prevent the advance of the rebels (M23).            

The latest fighting that happened the whole of Monday left Kibirizi town a stronghold of FDLR in Rutshuru territory and Karuba town in Masisi territory in the hands of M23. One person died and six others were injured after bombs were fired at the town of Sake.

Lieutenant-Colonel Njike Kaiko, the FARDC spokesperson in charge of North Kivu province accused M23 of being behind the act. But the M23 rebel military spokesperson refuted this and instead accused FARDC of bombing Sake by using fight jets.    

Fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers that started in March 2022 has left many parts of Rutshuru, Masisi, and Nyiragongo territories including Uganda-DR Congo in the hands of the rebels. DR Congo accuses Rwanda of backing the rebels, a claim both Rwanda and the rebels strongly deny. 

Rebels claim to fight against bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination among other messes.          

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