Congo-Kinshasa: Tutsi-Led M23 Rebels Withdraw From Eastern DR Congo

Cape Town — Tuti-led M23 rebels in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have withdrawn from several villages ahead of military deployments by a regional force, officials in the troubled region said Thursday, March 15, 2023.

The rebels advanced closer to Goma, threatening to cut off road links to the city of over 1 million people on the border with Rwanda.

The seven-nation East African Community (EAC) began deploying a military force to eastern Congo in November 2022 in a bid to stabilise the region. However, clashes between the M23 and the DR Congo army continued, and several regional peace initiatives failed, including a cease-fire mediated by Angola that was to come into effect on March 7, 2023.

Some residents remain wary about M23’s moves, with civil society leader in Goma, Jean-Claude Bambaze calling it a “false withdrawal.” He said the rebels were preparing for a fresh attack.

Independent U.N. experts, the United States and several other Western nations have also concluded that the M23 is backed by Rwanda, though Kigali denies the accusation.

DR Congo has also asked France to impose sanctions on Rwanda for their alleged support of the rebels, AllAfrica reports.

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