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Two M23 Commanders Killed As FARDC, SADC Forces Launch Assault in North Kivu :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Two M23 Commanders Killed As FARDC, SADC Forces Launch Assault in North Kivu

On Wednesday, M23 rebels through their spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka released a statement confirming the death of two of their commanders during Tuesday’s fighting
Some of M23 fighters on duty (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya)
The March 23 Movement  (M23) rebels have admitted losing two of their commanders as the Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and troops under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) launched an assault in North Kivu province.       

On Tuesday FARDC and SADC soldiers used combat drones, heavy and light weapons on many fronts in Kitchanga, in Masisi territory.  Heavy fighting also happened along the Karuba-Mushaki road in Bahunde chiefdom.

Colonel Ndjike Kaiko Guillaume, spokesperson of the military and Governor in North Kivu province released a statement confirming that FARDC and SADC soldiers have started the operation against M23.   

On Wednesday, M23 rebels through their spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka released a statement confirming the death of two of their commanders during Tuesday’s fighting. 

Kanyuka accused FARDC and SADC of violating the ceasefire to pave the way for dialogue.  

Kanyuka however did not disclose the identities and ranks of the killed commanders.       

“The M23 has respected the Regional leaders' and International Partners imposed ceasefire which the Kinshasa regime flouted and ignored. On Tuesday, January 16th, 2024, the Kinshasa regime yet again violated the imposed ceasefire by attacking our positions, carrying an act of assassination behind the front line, and killing our 2 commanders.  From the foregoing, the M23 has understood the message sent to it by the Kinshasa regime and will respond accordingly”, says Kanyuka in a statement.      

Neither M23 nor FARDC and SADC have confirmed the alleged killing of Colonel Castro Elise Mberabagabo, M23’s  Intelligence chief, and Erasto Bahati, advisor to General Emmanuel Sultan Makenga, during Tuesday’s fighting in Kitchanga.       

This is the first fierce assault FARDC and SADC have launched against M23  since its (SADC) troops deployment on  December 2023) after the withdrawal of troops under the East African Regional Force (EACRF).  

DR Congo government declined to renew the EACRF troops’ mandate accusing them of failure to launch an assault against M23 rebels.      

In March 2022, M23 led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga launched a war against the government.  The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of backing M23, but Rwanda and M23 strongly deny it.  The rebels claim to fight against bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination.      

Meanwhile, relations between Rwanda and DR Continue to deteriorate after Rwandan soldiers shot dead a FARDC soldier on Tuesday accusing him of stepping on Rwandan soil.  

Sergent Asman Mupenda alias Termite,30, Corporal Nkoi Anyasaka Lucien, and another soldier whose identities were not known crossed from DR Congo to the western part of Rwanda in Rukoko-Isangano village, Rubavu sector, Rubavu district while armed with an AK-47 rifle, four magazines loaded with 105 rounds of ammunition, a protective vest, and sachets of cannabis, according to Statement released by Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF).

In the process, RDF soldiers who were on patrol arrested Mupenda  Anyasaka and shot dead the third soldier while trying to flee back to DR Congo.  

This is not the first FARDC soldier to be killed for crossing into Rwandan soil.  In November 2022, a FARDC soldier whose identity was not revealed was shot dead after crossing the Rwandan border in Rubavu district, Western Province.

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