July 15, 2013

Tension As DRC-M23 Fighting Enters Day Two

Government forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have launched ground and air attacks on the M23 rebel territory as the fighting enters day two.

M23 rebels walk through the jungle in North Kivu province in eastern Congo.
M23 rebels walk through the jungle in North Kivu province in eastern Congo.

The clashes, which started on Sunday afternoon and died down when darkness set in, are said to have resumed in the morning hours of today with the Congolese government forces shelling the M23 positions.

According to the M23 civilian spokesperson Amani Kabashe, the rebels came under heavy shelling in the early hours of Monday.

Kabashe went ahead to accuse the United Nations Mission in DRC (Monusco) of failing to be neutral and instead peddling lies about the rebels.

He says that Monusco has since yesterday accused the M23 rebels of starting the ongoing fighting, yet for them they are calling for peace talks.

When asked on the claims that the rebels plan to attack Goma city, Kabashe said the Kabila government started the fighting despite the rebels’ commitment to peace talks and that the government should be ready and willing to bear whatever consequences come from the fighting.

However Congolese government spokesperson Lambert Mende says the government is fighting the sponsors of the M23 rebels and not the rebels themselves.

Mende says that reliable sources indicate that the rebels also have sophisticated equipment such as tanks although the rebels say the tanks they have were abandoned by the government forces themselves.

By the time of filing this story the fighting was still going on and no side had come up to claim an upper hand.

More than 65,000 people have crossed into Bundibugyo District in Uganda after their villages were raided by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.

According to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), at least 66,139 refugees are camped in Bundibugyo. URCS Secretary General Michael Richard Nataka says they plan to conduct fresh registration at the transit centre as more refugees are still crossing into Uganda.

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