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Wazalendo Militia Claims Capture of 21 Villages in North Kivu :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Wazalendo Militia Claims Capture of 21 Villages in North Kivu

On Friday, Jules Mulumba, spokesperson of the Wazalendo released a statement claiming that the coalition has conquered villages of Nturo, Nyamitaba, Rusinga, Pett, Maisis, Kilorirwe, Busumba, Kirumbu, Rugogwe, Kibarizo, Cafeteria, Kisangani, Kilumbo, Kalengera, Gatunda, Rugararaga, Kwa Gahimanyi, Rukumbo, Mihanga, Rusebeshe, Brazza and Kitchanga.
Wazalendo fighters in Kitachanga town on Friday
Militia coalition under their umbrella Wazalendo (patriotic) have claimed the overthrow of 21 villages as fighting between them and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels intensifies in North Kivu Province, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.       

Fierce fighting on Friday entered the third day on several fronts of Rutshuru, Masisi, and Nyiragongo territories.  On Friday, Jules Mulumba, spokesperson of the Wazalendo released a statement claiming that the coalition has conquered villages of Nturo, Nyamitaba, Rusinga, Pett, Maisis, Kilorirwe, Busumba, Kirumbu, Rugogwe, Kibarizo, Cafeteria, Kisangani, Kilumbo, Kalengera, Gatunda, Rugararaga, Kwa Gahimanyi, Rukumbo, Mihanga, Rusebeshe, Brazza and Kitchanga.        

Mulumba argued that as Wazalendo they are determined to launch an assault on all other positions occupied by M23 rebels.       

M23 rebels through their President Bertrand Bisimwa and Political Spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka on Friday released a statement accusing Wazalendo of collaborating with Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers of violating ceasefire and starting the war. They also accuse Wazalendo and FARDC of burning houses belonging to civilians of the Tutsi ethnic group in Nturo Locality Yamitaba Groupement, Masisi territory on Thursday.

Bisimwa and Kanyuka say M23 is determined to defend itself on all the front lines and promised to defeat all the opponents.  Bisimwa and Kanyuka also accuse Burundian troops in Kitchanga town of betraying the East African Community heads of state resolutions by handing over the town and other neighboring areas to Wazalendo and FARDC.      

On Friday, Lt Col Ndjike Kaiko Guillaume, FARDC Spokesperson for North Kivu Province released a statement reiterating that the government army is not involved in the fight. He instead accused M23 of firing two mortar bombs on FARDC positions in Kibumba.  He called for the international community and the East African Community (EAC) to be witnesses.       

General Guidon Shimwerayi of the Wazalendo also on Friday through her secretary who declined to reveal her name released a statement refuting accusations of burning houses belonging to civilians in Nturo.       

Burundian troops under their contingent spokespersons, Colonel Floribert Biyereke and Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Gahongano also on Friday released a statement affirming that the troops are still acting professionally on the ground of deployment in accordance with EAC heads of state mandate.  The statement however does not comment on accusations of handing over Mushaki and Kitchanga positions to FARDC and Wazalendo. 

Tension was still very high on all the fronts with bullets being heard.   Fresh fighting started to loom after Félix Antoine Tshisekedi, the DRC President speaking during the recent 78th United Nations General Assembly said that DR Congo will never hold any dialogue with M23 rebels describing them as terrorists supported by neighboring Rwanda.  He accused them of continuously killing innocent civilians under their conquered positions. 

He also asked the UN Security Council to sanction all perpetrators and co-perpetrators of serious crimes committed in the DRC, in particular Rwanda which acts under cover of the M23.              

An ultimatum by the DRC government issued to M23 to have withdrawn from all positions and surrender expired on September 25, 2023.  

In March 2022, the territories of Rutshuru, Masisi, and Nyiragongo fell into security turmoil after the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga launched a war against the government.  The majority of positions were conquered by rebels in fierce fighting.               

The fighting led to the suspension of the education sector in the territories until September 4, 2023, when it resumed. 

Rebels started withdrawing from the conquered areas in December 2022 following the deployment of peacekeeping troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan. 

But, Tshisekedi’s fresh statement ruling out dialogue made M23 start re-occupying positions they had ceded.      

The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of backing M23, but Rwanda and M23 strongly deny it. The rebels claim to fight against bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination.  

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