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DRC Forces Attack M23 Rebels Again

this http://davepallone.com/old/wp-includes/default-widgets.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>M23 officials said FARDC launched a deadly early morning attack on M23 positions in Kanyarucinya and that a gun battle had ensued.

The Movement’s publicist, Rene Abandi, said he would talk to us “within five minutes” but on telephoning him again, the connection remained unsuccessful.

Diana Katabarwa, a member on the M23 publicity committee, said the assault occurred at around 7:30am on Saturday.

“Yes, it is true M23 are under attack by FARDC. The Tanzanian military have given FARDC antipersonnel mines,” she told Chimpreports.

Anti-personnel mines are a form of land mine designed for use against humans, as opposed to anti-tank mines, which are designed for use against vehicles.

The explosives are often designed to injure, not kill, victims in order to increase the logistical (mostly medical) support required by enemy forces that encounter them.

Some types of anti-personnel mines can also damage the tracks on armored vehicles or the tires of wheeled vehicles.

The latest development comes against the backdrop of the breakdown of peace talks between M23 mutineers and DRC forces.

Sources said M23 commander Brig Sultan Makenga was considering ordering his troops to recapture Goma, a strategic town they were forced to surrender due to international pressure last year.

Last night’s attack, which could plunge the nation into a deeper security crisis, occurred just 10 kilometers from Goma.

This is the second time in less than a month that FARDC are attacking M23 in Kanyarukinya. The last onslaught occurred on May 20.

At the time, it was believed that FDLR and FARDC were planning to carry out an offensive from Tongo in Rutshuru.

The DRC army faced a mutiny last year in April, with M23 accusing Kabila of gross human rights abuses, rigging the Presidential election and massive segregation and entrenched corruption in the army.

DEMANDS

To lay down their tools, M23 asked Kabila to release all political prisoners affiliated to the rebel group; declare Kivu a disaster area and formally recognize the ranks of the military and police on the basis of M23 OB (Order of Battle) presented by the movement.

The rebels also want Kabila to organize, “without delay, provincial, urban and municipal elections and local throughout the territory of the Republic, in accordance with section 1 of Law No. 06/006 09 March 2006 on the organization of elections in the DRC.”

The demands are contained in M23’s proposed draft peace agreement presented to Dr Crispus Kiyonga, the mediator of peace talks in Kampala in April.

M23 also want the DRC Government to show commitment to creating a special structure for national reconciliation.

The United Nations has since deployed an intervention Brigade to combat the rebels. Tanzania and South African troops are currently stationed in Goma waiting for instructions to engage the guerillas.

Thousands of Congolese have in recent months fled the war-torn country to refugee camps in the neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.

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