Bertrand Bisimwa Appointed New M23 President

Bertrand Bisimwa replaces the sacked Bishop
Bertrand Bisimwa replaces the sacked Bishop Runiga

Bertrand Bisimwa, the former M23 rebels’ civilian spokesperson, has been appointed as their new leader.

His appointment follows the forceful exit of Bishop Jean Marie Runiga.

Former leader Bishop Jean Marie Runiga was fired last week after he was accused of treason. Among the charges brought against their former leader was diversion of M23 funds to forces loyal to warlord Bosco Ntaganda.

Bisimwa was named the new M23 president at the rebel base in Bunagana Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gathered at the base were the civilian and military arms of the M23 rebels.

Bisimwa was formally named the rebel outfit’s new civilian leader by interim president of the M23 Brigadier Sultan Makenga. Makenga reverts to his role as commander of the M23.

Bertrand Bisimwa was an ally to the ousted M23 president Jean Marie Runiga. He joined the M23 after the rebels declared their opposition to the Congolese government for failure to honour the agreement signed on the 23rd of March.

The M23 rebels gained prominence in 2012 after they attacked government troops in eastern DRC and took over the town of Goma. Their attack forced thousands of civilians to flee to other parts of the country while others crossed into neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda.

On the 28th February, 2013, forces loyal to Bishop Jean Marie Runiga and war lord Bosco Ntaganda attacked the M23 rebels’ base at Cyanzu but were repulsed.

The base is located about 20 kilometres from the Uganda border town of Bunagana.

The attack has since the sparked off fighting between the rival forces. M23 then declared its former president wanted to face treason charges.

Further clashes have been reported in the Virunga National park where the former president is believed to be hiding.

Fighting has led to fresh influx of refugees from DRC into Kisoro District in Uganda. Most of them are now camped at Bunagana primary school in Kisoro district.

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