from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE uptick in fighting between government troops and M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is of global concern.
Fighting has escalated in the past fortnight.
The M23 militia was formed in 2012 to defend the interests of Congolese Tutsis against Hutu armed groups.
Recently, the rebels reportedly seized two towns, consolidating months of gains since its resurgence last year, after commanders – many of whom had joined the national army – accused the government of failing to honour a demobilization agreement.
Multiple civilians killed, scores displaced and four peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) have been injured.
“MONUSCO recalls that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes and that it will spare no effort to prosecute those responsible before national and/or international courts,” read a MONUSCO statement.
Over the past weekend, the DRC ordered the Rwandan ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours, after accusing Kigali once again of supporting the M23 rebels.
Rwanda has repeatedly dismissed the claim.
UN chief, António Guterres, has spoken to the presidents of DRC President, Félix Tshisekedi, and Rwanda counterpart, Paul Kagame, about the issue.
He also spoke to mediators, President of Angola, João Lourenço, and Kenya counterpart, William Ruto, as well as President of Senegal, Macky Sall, who is also the Chairperson of the African Union (AU).
– CAJ News