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Two M23 Senior Bosses Killed In Drone Attacks By Congolese And SADC Forces

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The M23 rebels have admitted loosing two of their commanders as the Armed Forced of Democratic Republic Congo (FARDC) and troops under the South African Development Community (SADC) launched several assaults against the group in the North Kivu province.

FARDC and SADC soldiers on Tuesday 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.

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Colonel Ndjike Kaiko Guillaume, the spokesperson of the militart and Governor of North Kivu province released a statement confirming that FARDC and SADC soldiers started the operations against the defiant M23 rebels.

Later on Wednesday, the group’s spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuma released a statement confirming the death of two of their commanders during the Tuesday’s fighting He accused FARDC and SADC of violating the ceasefire to pave the way for dialogue. He however didn’t disclose the identities and ranks of the killed commanders.

“The M23 has resprected 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 assasination behind the frontline, 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”-said Kanyuka in a statement.

Neither M23 nor FARDC and SADC have confirmed the alleged killing of Colonel Castrol Elise Mbelabagabo, 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 it’s deployment in December 2023 following the withdrawal of the troops under the East African Regional Force (EACRF).

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

In March 2023, M23 led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Emmanuel Makenga launched war against the government. THE DR congo government accuses Rwanda of backing M23, but Rwanda and the rebel group strongly deny it. The rebels claim to fight against bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia and discrimination.

Relations between Rwanda and Congo continue to deteriorate after Rwandan soldiers shot dead a FARDC soldier on Tuesday accusing him of stepping on Rwandan soil and opening fire at the patroling soldiers at the boarder of DRC and Rwanda.

According to a statement released by the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), Sgt Asman Mupenda alias Termite, 30, Corporal Nkoi Anyasaka Lucien 28 and another soldier whose identities were not known crossed from DRC to the western part of Rwanda in Rukoko-Isangano village in Rubavu district while armed with an AK-47 riffle, four magazines loaded with 105 rounds of ammunition, a protective vest and sachets of cannabis.

In the process, RDC 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 time FARDC soldiers are killed for crossing into Rwanda. In November, 2023, a FARDC soldier whose identity was not revelaed was shot dead after crossing into the Rwanda boarder in Rubavu district, western province.

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