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HomeBreaking NewsCAPTURED: M23 Rebels Take Over Congolese Territory & Advance Into North Kivu

CAPTURED: M23 Rebels Take Over Congolese Territory & Advance Into North Kivu

Rwanda-backed rebels, M23, have captured a new territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rebels in the east of the DRC entered Kitshanga, in Masisi territory, on Thursday January 26, 2023 forcing the local army into what it describes as “tactical” withdrawal.

Witnesses say the M23 rebellion has continued to advance in North Kivu, eastern DRC, with an attempt to take over the bigger portion of the mineral rich nation.

After three days of fighting, the Congolese army gave in claiming it evoked a “tactical” withdrawal to spare the civilian populations.

“We tactically withdrew outside the city in order to attract these genocidaires (M23) in depth and to avoid the worst for our populations of Kitshanga,” Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, spokesman of the governor of North Kivu military, told AFP on Friday. “We are doing everything we can to dislodge this enemy.”

Congolese in the eastern parts of the country are fearful of the happenings.

“We are with rebels here in the city,” said a Kitshanga resident interviewed from Goma.

The M23 controls all of Kitshanga and this morning the rebels are advancing towards Mweso [in the direction of Walikale]. The territory of Walikale, one of the six in the province of North Kivu, is very rich in minerals (cobalt, gold, cassiterite, etc.).

Before taking control of Kitshanga, the M23 had already conquered several villages on the road linking this locality of approximately 60,000 inhabitants to Goma, which is thus deprived of a new supply route. The provincial capital of more than a million inhabitants, located just on the Rwandan border, was already cut off from access to the north, via the national road 2, reached by the rebels during their October-November 2022 offensive.

The M23 had taken up arms a year earlier, at the end of 2021, with, according to the DRC, the support of Rwanda, which Kigali continues to dispute . The movement has since taken over parts of Rutshuru and Nyiragongo territories, north of Goma.

CREDIT: Additional Reporting by Juene Afrque

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