Clashes Between M23 Rebels, DR Congo Causing Humanitarian Problems

Clashes between the army and rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) continued in several localities in Rutshuru territory, northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), causing major population movements, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement Thursday.

Since the end of March 2022, the M23 has been on the offensive in DRC’s northeastern province of North Kivu, as several townships in the province have been in the hands of the rebels for weeks.

As of July 8, the health zones of Rutshuru and Rwanguba in the North Kivu province had received more than 124,000 displaced people, according to the OCHA, citing administrative and health authorities.

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In addition, socioeconomic activities remain paralyzed in Bunagana in Rutshuru territory, one month after its occupation by the M23 armed group on June 12, warned the OCHA.

In the Nyiragongo territory of the North Kivu province, at least 5,800 displaced people from Kibumba and Buhumba since May are still living in makeshift shelters. According to humanitarian sources, these displaced people are reluctant to return to their villages for fear of new clashes, said the OCHA.

The M23 consists of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) and got its name from the March 23, 2009 agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government.

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M23 leaders have accused the government of failing to respect the agreement.

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