M23 Rebels Capture Eastern DR Congo Town Amid Escalating Violence

Wed Mar 06 2024
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GOMA: The M23 rebels have captured the town of Nyanzale in eastern DR Congo, displacing tens of thousands of residents as government forces struggle to contain the escalating conflict, AFP reported on Wednesday citing local sources.

Nyanzale, located in North Kivu province, approximately 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the provincial capital of Goma, fell under the control of the Tutsi-led M23 group following fierce fighting. According to a health sector source, most of the town’s population had fled amid the advancing rebel forces.

“We are under the control of the M23 here at Nyanzale,” the source stated, noting that rebel troops were advancing towards Kikuku with a large number of vehicles.

Residents reported seeing rebel vehicles entering the town, while the chief of the administrative area encompassing Nyanzale described the security situation as “precarious,” with reports of ongoing attacks since Tuesday.

Violence in Eastern DR Congo 

Patrick Muhindo Mongera, the local chief, confirmed the capture of Nyanzale by M23 rebels and noted the mass displacement of civilians in the area. Additionally, a security source verified that multiple locations in the Rutshuru region had fallen to rebel control, resulting in casualties and the displacement of thousands.

The M23 rebels have been gaining ground in North Kivu since resuming armed activities at the end of 2021.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed grave concern over the situation, with its director general, Robert Mardini, highlighting the influx of wounded civilians seeking medical assistance in health centers. Mardini emphasized that a significant portion of the injuries were caused by shelling and heavy weapons fire in densely populated areas.

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