30 August 2013

Rwanda: M23 Rebels Withdraw From Kanyarucinya

Photo: Oxfam International
Drinking water in Mugunga camp, eastern DRC.

M23 this morning announced withdrawal of its troops from their positions in Kanyarucinya in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"This morning M23 ordered its troops to withdraw from Kanyarucinya in order to facilitate investigations on the shooting of Goma and Rubavu (in Rwanda)," the rebels said on their Twitter handle.

The rebels rejected claims by Kinshasa and the UN peacekeeping mission in the country that they were responsible for the shelling into Rwanda in recent days.

M23 also say they are withdrawing because the UN peacekeepers, known as Monusco, had joined the fighting on the side of the Congolese forces, FARDC, claiming the rebels had moved into the "security zone" near the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma.

In Kigali, the Government yesterday issued a stern warning, saying it was running out of patience hours after a Rwandan woman died in a market in the border district of Rubavu and her two-month old son sustaining serious injuries.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Government Spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, said in a statement that DRC forces and the FDLR militia, a group blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, had fired a total of 34 mortar bombs into Rwanda in a spate of one month.

"The persistent shelling of Rwandan territory is unacceptable, as it would be to any sovereign nation. Rwandan civilians are being targeted by DRC forces. We have remained restrained for as long as we can but this provocation can no longer be tolerated," Mushikiwabo said.

Rwanda Defence Forces have since moved heavy arsenal to Rubavu.

Kigali has repeatedly rejected claims it's supporting the M23 rebels, who took up arms in April 2012 accusing Kinshasa of breaching the terms of a March 2009 peace accord that had integrated fighters of a previous rebel group into the army.

The latest hostilities dealt a huge blow to the Kampala peace talks between the two sides which had been expected to resume.

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