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M23 Rebels Protest Continued Closure of Main Roads in North Kivu :: Uganda Radionetwork

M23 Rebels Protest Continued Closure of Main Roads in North Kivu

On Tuesday this week, M23 political spokesperson released a statement condemning the continued closure of the road.
Part of Bunagana in Rutshuru territory
M23 rebels are protesting the continued closure of main roads in North Kivu province, by authorities in the  eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The roads were closed in March last year by then North Kivu province Millitary Governor Lieutenant General Constant Ndima Kongba. He also suspended the movement of drivers and their customers along Goma-Rutshuru-Kanyabayonga and Goma-Sake-Kitchanga-Kanyabayonga routes. 

He also ordered the same on Goma-Sake-Pinga and Goma-Sake-Mushaki-Masisi-Walikale.  As a result, trucks crossing to DRC from the Ugandan side through Bunagana and Busanza borders were advised to use the Uganda-Rwanda border of Chanika.

But M23 released a statement condemning the continued closure of the road.  The Political Spokesperson of the group Lawrence Kanyuka argues that the continued closure is unjustifiable and has exacerbated the frustration of locals who would use the routes to transport goods and food to and from Goma city. 

He also says that keeping the roads closed deprives the locals of their means of survival and violates their fundamental rights.   

"We strongly condemn the closure of the Goma/Rutshuru road by the Kinshasa regime, a decision which illustrates a deliberate desire to enclave the city of Goma, despite repeated calls from the international community for the reopening of this essential route supply. This unjustifiable closure exacerbates an already critical situation. It is imperative that this road be reopened without delay in order to allow the resumption of free movement and to alleviate the suffering of the citizens of Goma," Kanyuka argues.  

Lieutenant Colonel Willy Ngoma, M23 rebels’ military spokesperson also says that if authorities continue to close the road, M23 will take measures to open it. 

"We will put an end to the lies of the propagandists of an incompetent thief Félix Antoine Tshisekedi.  And the Kinshasa regime which closed the roads from Goma to Rutshuru so that people in Gomra live a bad life, we will fight it,” Ngoma added.

The government hasn’t issued a response to M23 demands.  

Meanwhile, fighting between FARDC soldiers and coalition and M23 rebels resumed in Rwindi-Kanyabayonga road and villages of Shonyi, Kavumu and Bukombo in Rutshuru territory since Wednesday.   In March 2022, M23, led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, initiated a conflict against the government.  

The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, although both Rwanda and M23 vehemently deny these claims. The rebels assert that they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia and discrimination within the leadership of DR Congo

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