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M23 Militants Accuse Congolese Army and SADEC of Killing Civilians

The M23 rebel group in Congo has accused the FARDC and the Southern African Community of Nations, SADEC, of ​​killing 10 civilians with machine guns and bombs on the outskirts of the small town of Sake, in the territory of Masisi in North Kivu province. This is after heavy fighting that took place in the area this week, on Thursday and Friday.

In a statement signed by Mr. Lawrence Kanyuka, the Director of media and communication in M23, says that the bombs fell on civilians in the suburbs of Sake in Nsiri located on the road from Sake to Kitshanga in Masisi territory where fierce fighting has been going on for days.

In the announcement, the M23 leadership said that their forces managed to destroy four FARDC and SADC combat vehicles. They were carrying cannons and various other military equipment.

M23 accuses the government of Kishasa, through its FARDC army, of placing machine guns in the population and in the camps of displaced people in the city of Goma and the surrounding areas. For M23 that is a serious violation of civil rights in this time of war.

Major Willy Ngoma, the M23 military spokesman, told the Voice of America that the Congolese army is constantly bombing civilians and claiming it to be M23. He added that M23 intends to end the war irretrievably and crush the opposition FARDC and SADC forces.

M23’s claims are being blamed by the Congolese army FARDC

Colonel Guilaume Ndjike Kaiko, the Spokesman of the FARDC in North Kivu Province, says that M23 is the one that bombed civilians in the center of Sake and its suburbs. In an interview with Voice of America, Mr. Kaiko did not give an exact number of dead. He urges the public to avoid rumours.

Colonel Kaiko continued to say that now the SADC forces have officially started fighting M23 in collaboration with the Congolese forces. The forces had arrived on a mission to suppress the M23 but had not yet started a war on the ground.

The FARDC confirms that its bases are well protected and that the M23 has not withdrawn them since the fighting started in the suburbs of Sake.

M23 also continues to move, showing that it has not left its base at all, but that it has managed to drive away the government forces and other supporters.

Another area where fighting continued was in the Rutshuru area where M23 launched attacks targeting the Kanyabayonga area in Lubero territory.

M23 announced that they managed to capture this area on the border of Rutshuru and Lubero but this information is denied by FARDC. The fact that the SADC forces have started military operations with the FARDC is being discussed differently by the people and politicians of eastern Congo. They see this as a waste of time and to promise miracles to the Congolese people who are in the refugee camps in Goma city and Nyiragongo territory.

Gaston Rwaka

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