Congolese army mops up M23 rebels’ last military position
Newscast Media KINSHASA—The Congolese army seized one of the last positions held
by the M23 rebel group on Monday. Thousands of people are on the run. The rebels
have repeated their peace offer.
Standing beside his taxi at the Biere roundabout in the center of Goma, James Karefu
is keeping calm. “No, I’m not afraid of the M23. Its present state does not allow them
to stand in front of a regular army”, the taxi driver tells DW.
One year ago, the name M23 was enough to sent shockwaves down the spines of
Goma residents, after the rebels took the major trade hub in eastern DRC. They
stayed in the city for ten days while Congolese soldiers and UN peacekeepers stood
by and watched.
That has changed dramatically. After a military campaign that lasted a few weeks,
the rebels control little more than three hilltops in the entire region. And even though
fighting between the rebels and the army erupted again on Monday in another part of
the eastern DR Congo, Goma’s residents went about their daily routines. “In Goma, life
goes on normally”, Deutsche Welle correspondent Gaïus Kowene reported. Shops,
schools and banks operate as usual, our correspondent said.
M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, becoming the latest reincarnation of an
ethnic Tutsi rebel group dissatisfied with the Congolese government.
On Monday, Congolese soldiers seized the strategic hilltop of Mbuzi. It had been
“completely conquered,” the AFP news agency quoted a senior Congolese official as
saying. “We can’t stop…there are only a few hills left to conquer,” he added.
Correspondents in the area reported that the soldiers attacked the hill post with tanks
and rocket fire. Seven rebels are said to have been captured.
The M23 complained that the army had attacked its positions with heavy weapons.
“Our movement reiterates that we are ready to unconditionally sign the peace deal
agreed on Saturday, November 3 in Kampala,” the rebels said in a statement.
African leaders meanwhile met in South Africa’s capital Pretoria on Monday evening to
find a political situation for the crisis. South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma is
expected to discuss the situation with the presidents of Uganda, Kenya, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Source: Deutsche Welle