So far, rebels bombed FARDC’s defensive positions in the villages of Kakomero, Mwaro then through towns of Bisoko, Ngugo, Rwaza and Rugari, leaving residents fleeing towards Goma.
1:12pm: Latest reports coming indicate that fighting has intensified in the areas of Rumangabo between M23 rebels and heavily-armed FARDC forces. DRC is using apache helicopters to attack rebel positions. The onslaughts are reportedly being coordinated by Kabila’s generals stationed in Goma.
11:00pm: Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has reportedly dispatched five high ranking army generals to Goma, a strategic town which rebels had threatened to seize.
They include Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the DRC, Gen. Didier Etumba, Gen. Gabriel, Gen. John Numbi, Gen. Mustafa, Gen. Patrick Masunzu and Gen. Bahuma, the new commander of the 8th Military division.
The M23 rebels claim the generals were sent to beef up security provided by MONUSCO in the area after FARDC suffered a humiliating defeat in towns of Rutshuru and Bunagana.
On Monday, M23 threatened to march to Goma, stoking tensions in the region and triggering a massive exodus of refugees to Uganda and Rwanda.
Ugandan intelligence officials have told Chimpreports.com that the presence of RDC’s top army officers in Goma is not only intended to provide a barrier to Goma from rebels but aimed at planning to launch a mother-of-all attacks to displace M23 rebels from their positions in Bunagana.
“There is a considerable large movement of troops and heavy artillery to Goma. There is reason to believe that government of Congo is planning to attack rebel-controlled areas of Bunagana. We are closely monitoring the situation and deploying at our borders accordingly,” said a top military intelligence source in Uganda.
The source preferred anonymity as he is not authorized speak to press.
The Congo conflict could worsen if DRC generals choose the path of war instead of talks between rebel leaders and Kinshasha and other stake holders as agreed at the African Union Summit in Ethiopia a fortnight ago.
Congo and the international community accuse neighbouring Rwanda of supplying arms and recruits to the M23 rebellion, allegations Kigali has denied vehemently.