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617 Congolese Refugees Transferred to Nakivale Refugee Settlement

On Thursday, 78 Congolese crossed to Bunagana following fighting between the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers.
A convoy of buses climbing Kanaba hills in Kisoro district heading to Nakivale (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)
617 Congolese refugees have been transferred to Nakivale refugees center in Isingiro District.

The refugees who have been at the Nyakabande resettlement center were transported in 11 buses.

Hajji Shafique Ssekandi Ssengoba, Kisoro Resident District Commissioner says that they wanted to create space at the transit center since more refugees have continued to flee Rutshuru in North Kivu province.     

On Thursday, 78 Congolese crossed to Bunagana following fighting between the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers.

Daniel Kisamo, the Settlement Commandant of refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister says that more than 4,000 refugees have been transferred to Nakivale. He adds that there are currently 17,304 refugees still camped at Nyakabande.

The heavy gunfire exchange between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers started on Thursday at around 3:00 PM in the Jomba groupment south of Bunagana, in the territory of Rutshuru in areas of Musungero, Rushari, Nyarubara, and Runyoni. 

On Friday morning, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike Kaïko, FARDC Spokesperson for sokola2 operations argued that it was the M23 who attacked the Congolese army, after having threatened to launch their offensive through a press release published on the morning of Thursday.  

“We were in Kabasanza, the M23 once again violated the truce by attacking one of our positions and a FARDC patrol. You also know that in social networks, you saw, that the M23 issued a statement that they were preparing to attack, and here is the proof, they have just materialized their will, and there the FARDC has controlled the situation, we are waiting for the rest”, claims Ndjike. 

M23 rebels are yet to issue a statement about the accusations.   M23 rebels had earlier through its spokesperson, Major Willy Ngoma accused FARDC of having maintained new meetings with the armed groups extended to the administrative authorities of Rutshuru territory. 

M23 cites in particular combatants from the Nyatura-Abazungu armed group, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) combatants, Mai-Mai, and at least 120 combatants from the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo (APCLS) and Nyatura-Domi armed group. 

The M23 also accused FARDC of deploying on the front line, despite the ongoing talks in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.