Fighting erupts again in eastern DRC

2012-05-25 18:01
Jomba - Fresh clashes broke out on Friday between the army and a band of mutineers in the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern Nord-Kivu province, soldiers on both sides said.

"We have resumed the offensive. We are attacking the mutineers with heavy weaponry to chase them down from the summit of Chanzu hill," a stronghold of deserters who claim allegiance to the March 23 Movement (M23), a colonel in the DRC army (FARDC) told AFP.

"The FARDC have just attacked us. They are using heavy weapons, but we are not afraid of those. We're going to defend ourselves. We know that we're up against 7 000 men, but they can change nothing, we'll still hold our positions," M23 spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vianney Kazarama said.

The fighting was taking place in the Rutshuru territory, close to the border with Uganda and Rwanda. Local residents in the Chanzu area have taken to a main highway to escape into Uganda, an AFP journalist reported.

The members of M23 originally came from an armed Congolese Tutsi movement, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), who were integrated into the army in 2009. They are led by Colonel Sultani Makenga and have demanded the full implementation of the 2009 peace accords.

"Currently, the fighting against the M23 movement is taking place in southeast Rutshuru, around three hills, the chain of hills between Mbuzi, Chanzu and Runyonyi," the UN mission in DRC [Monusco] reported on Wednesday. "Runyonyi is really the stronghold of the M23 fighters."

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

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