DR Congo Troops Recapture Positions Occupied by Rebels

Congolese forces have recovered all positions that were occupied during an attack by rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) had stated that fighting with M23 broke out in North Kivu province after the rebels attacked military positions in Chanzu and Runyonyi villages, destabilizing Rutshuru territory.

The local administrative chief, Jackson Gachuki, said the army recovered all five villages that had been occupied by the rebels and most of the population had returned to Chanzu, Bunagana’s center, and the surrounding areas.

He added that refugees who had fled the fighting to Uganda had begun returning home.

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According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 11,000 people had fled from the violence to Uganda.

Some 8,000 people crossed the border at Bunagana town and another 3,000 at the Kibaya border crossing into neighboring Uganda’s Kisoro district, located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) southwest of the Ugandan capital Kampala, according to the UNHCR.

Rwanda denied accusations Tuesday that its soldiers were involved with Congolese rebels from M23 in the clashes with government troops in North Kivu province.

M23 signed a peace agreement in 2013 in Kenya’s capital Nairobi with the Congolese government.

Under the deal, the rebel group said it would demobilize and renounce violence. The Congolese government in turn committed to implement a demobilization process and grant amnesty to members of the group who had not committed “serious crimes.”

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M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) who had been integrated into the army under a March 23, 2009 agreement with the Congolese government but declared a mutiny in April 2012.

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