Tension As DRC Govt Deploys Near M23 Territory

Tension is high in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC following a decision by government to deploy close to areas under the M23 rebel forces. The rebels hold Mutaho, which is close to Goma, the North Kivu Provincial capital.

Amani Baba Kabasha, the M23 rebel civilian spokesperson says they are aware of government plans to overrun their positions. Kabasha claims that government forces have been building up in Mabenga and Butembo areas close to their territory since Wednesday. The government forces are also said to have increased their presence in Giseguro, Tongo and Mutaho areas among others.  The deployment of DRC troops comes a few days after government accused the rebels of deploying children near Goma airport to spy on its forces, with intentions of capturing it.

However, M23 has denied the government claims. The heavy government deployment is a threat to the temporary ceasefire announced by M23 in May during the visit of Ban Kimoon, the UN secretary general to Goma. Col. Vianny Kazarama, the M23 rebel force Spokesperson told Uganda Radio network on Phone from DRC that they have realized that the Kabila Government has resumed its usual games. He claims that the government forces are planning an offensive on their, which they will not tolerate.

Kazarama says that the DRC government forces have teamed with FDLR rebels and the United Nations Brigade to prepare for an assault on Kalengera and Rumangabo Kibumba.

He however, warns that they will not sick back and wait to be picked up like grasshoppers. Mid this month, the M23 rebels conducted drills in Rumangabo, which could have prompted the government deployment. But Me Jean Muhire, the M23 head of Justice and Human rights department denies that they conducted military drills saying it was a capacity building seminar for judicial and police officers under their command. He says that seminar was designed to strengthen the capacity of police and judicial officers in the protection of the rights of children and women.

Amuli Olivier, the Congolese army spokesperson says the government forces are responding to intelligence reports that the M23 rebels are planning to launch fresh attacks on government positions. He however, says that they are prepared to deal with the rebel threats of invasion.

 

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