Rebels Attack DRC Gov't Positions in North Kivu

The two positions, with a small number of government soldiers responsible for border security, were set on fire by the attackers who later fled to an unknown destination.
The deceased, Brigadier Etienne Mutazimiza Kanyaruchinya
Two positions of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo- FARDC in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province were on Sunday and Monday attached by an armed rebel group, according to reliable government military sources.  

The attack happened in Ngugo and Nyesisi, located towards the border between DRCongo and Rwanda, in the east of the Rugari. According to a reliable source, the incident occurred between 9:00 PM on Sunday up to the wee hours of 3:00 AM on Monday.  

These two positions, with a small number of government soldiers responsible for border security, were set on fire by the attackers who later fled to an unknown destination.  The attack forced residents of Ngugo 1 and 2, Ruhanga and Butaka 1 and 2 villages in East of Rugari that neighbor army positions to flee for their lives. 

Locals took the direction of the Rugari center and towards the parish of Rugari and other neighboring areas.   A military source attributed the attack to the March 23 Movement rebels, but our reporter could not independently confirm the claim since M23 rebels are yet to issue a statement. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume Ndjike, Spokesperson for government army Sukola 2 operations did not comment more on the attack but said that the state has already deployed troops in the region for military operations and to restore security.  

Meanwhile, a 48-year-old eco-ranger attached to Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (French: l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature- ICCN) was on Saturday night killed during an armed attack in Bukima located about 50 kilometers south-east of the capital of Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province, in the heart of Virunga National Park.

The deceased ranger has been identified as, Brigadier Etienne Mutazimiza Kanyaruchinya.  The attack happened from 8:00 PM on Saturday up to around 1:00 AM on Sunday near the village of Bukima, within the mountain gorilla sector of Mikeno, in the Rutshuru Territory, according to ICCN press statement.

According to government military sources, the rebels are said to have hidden in the hills of Mikeno in Gahinga. Two other eco guards are missing and the armed men also made away with the property. 

ICCN in a press statement condemns the attack saying that the institute does not have military status and their action does not fall under the laws of armed conflict.  According to the statement couple of weeks ago, the rebels attacked an ICCN patrol post from which they launched attacks on the towns of Jomba and Bunagana.

The counteroffensive of the Congolese army put an end to these attacks, though a large number of soldiers died during these operations.

On November 7, there was heavy fighting in the villages of Chanzu and Runyoni in Rutshuru, about 25 kilometers from the border with Uganda forcing thousands of DRC nationals in the affected area to flee into Uganda through Bunagana and other porous borders in Kisoro district.     The heavily armed attackers emerged from Virunga National Park, a few Kilometers from the Rwanda DRC border, and simultaneously attacked the villages.

DRC accused the ex-M-23 Movement (French: Mouvement du 23 mars), of masterminding the attack, an allegation that Bertrand Bisimwa, the M23 President strongly refuted.     At least 11,000 people crossed the border into Uganda between Sunday and Monday, following the attack, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

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