M23 rebels in the eastern side of the Democratic Republic Congo promised to retreat from a strategic position even as they conquered territories elsewhere, throwing confusion over the future direction of a year-long conflict. The armed group has taken over swaths of territory in North Kivu province in recent months and advanced towards its capital, Goma. The Rumangabo military base, captured in November, was handed over to EACRF troops Wednesday last week.
Under heavy international pressure to cease fighting, on December 23rd, the M23 armed group delivered the strategic town of Kibumba to a regional military force, calling the move a “goodwill gesture done in the name of peace”.
At the dawn of the new year, the group also pledged to hand over Rumangabo military base to the East African community’s military force, which deployed late last year in a bid to restore stability in the troubled region.
Congolese officials Sunday reported heavy fighting in the eastern parts of the Central African nation when fighters from the M23 rebel group attacked army positions close to the border with Uganda and Rwanda.
The fighting in the DRC has also reignited regional tensions, with Kinshasa accusing its smaller neighbour Rwanda of backing the M23, allegations supported by UN experts as well as the United States, France and Belgium.Kigali denies supporting the M23, which has conquered swathes of territory from the Congolese army and allied militias and advanced towards Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
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