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M23 accuses DR Congo army of violating humanitarian truce

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The M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo on Sunday, June 7, accused the government coalition of violating a humanitarian truce that was negotiated to facilitate aid delivery to displaced people and allow for the safe return to their homes in North Kivu province.

Brokered by the United States, the truce that began on June 5 was supposed to end on July 19.

The M23 rebel group and the Congolese government had agreed to the US proposal for a two-week proposal but both said they would remain vigilant for any violations.

In a Sunday post on X, M23 spokesperson said “civilian populations and all our positions are attacked by the coalition forces of the Kinshasa regime,” in Matembe, about 12 km from Kaseghe.

The Congolese army or government responded to the alleged violation.

Kanyuka said M23 had respected the truce, which he described as a “noble initiative” to de-escalate tensions in North Kivu, where the rebels took control of two towns in late June.

He said the government coalition, which includes the FDLR, a militia linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, troops from the Southern African Development Community, Burundian soldiers, was “taking advantage of our respect for the truce to attack us and bomb densely populated areas.”

Tensions between the Congolese army and the M23 began in November 2021, after the rebel group had spent nearly a decade without fighting.

The M23 accuses the Congolese army of cooperating with armed groups such the FDLR, which have persecuted Congolese Tutsi communities and destabilized eastern DR Congo for nearly 30 years.

Various regional peace initiatives have failed to bring an end to the conflict that is in its third year.

The conflict has also affected relations between Rwanda and DR Congo, with Kinshasa accusing Kigali of supporting the rebels.

The Rwandan government dismisses the allegations, and warns the collaboration between the Congolese army and the FDLR, which threatens Rwanda’s security.

Eastern DR Congo has been volatile for about three decades. It is home to more than 200 local and foreign armed groups.

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