CONGO WAR: Uganda Calls Special Ministers’ Summit

medicine sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;”>Impeccable diplomatic sources have told Chimpreports that Ministers from DRC, try Rwanda and other countries in the region will discuss the causes of the recent clashes that have left thousands of refugees fleeing to Rwanda and also devise ways of returning sanity to the war-torn eastern part of Congo.

store sans-serif; font-size: 10pt;”>Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Amb. James Mugume was not readily available for comment.

The renewed fighting which broke out on Thursday morning near Goma, the provincial town of Kivu, followed a three-month ceasefire.

DRC forces reportedly attacked M23 positions located in the town of Rugari, 30 km north of the city of Goma.

M23 President, Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga, said “many troops backed by armored units of government forces stormed several of our positions in this locality,” which compelled them to fire back as a defensive measure.

“The command of the Congolese Revolutionary Army (new name for M23) was clearly instructed by the Political Movement of 23 March to respond vigorously to the attacks of the enemy and push as far as possible, which is presently outstanding,” said Runiga.

He maintained that “current developments on the front line” should not surprise anyone considering that on November 9, the Governor of North Kivu threatened to “crush the forces of M23 if they do not disarm in 14 days.”

The renewed violence has come at a tremendous human cost to the Congolese population with damaging consequences to relations between DRC and her neighbours.

It’s claimed 113 rebels have been killed in the skirmishes since Thursday, reports M23 vehemently denies.

Regional leaders have been gathering in Kampala since June to find a lasting solution to the fighting under the chairmanship of President Yoweri Museveni.

They also put in place a committee of Defence Ministers to assess the situation with the view to mobilize a neutral force to crush all militants in the region to restore peace.

Congo accuses Rwanda and Uganda of fomenting trouble in the region by giving political and military support to the rebels.

The two countries deny the accusations, saying they are not beneficiaries of the conflict.

It’s important to note that fighting broke out in the wee hours of Thursday, just a day after the United Nations slapped sanctions and froze assets belonging to Gen Sultan Makenga, the M23 military commander.

Uganda’s decision to close Bunagana due to pressure from DRC also reportedly infuriated the rebels who believe this was aimed at starving the Congolese who benefit from cross border trade.

“DRC intends to starve Congolese in Bunagana so that the affected people can rise up in arms against the rebels. This is why the M23 have decided to take the war to Goma. Their plan is to seize this strategic town before dawn,” said a source.


On her part, Rwanda has urged the Congolese army (FARDC) and M23 to stop fighting and respect the decisions of the ICGLR on cessation of hostilities in DRC.

Rwanda’s Foreign Minister and Government Spokesperson Louise Mushikiwabo on Thursday expressed concern that the new fighting will undermine the ongoing ICGLR peace process:

“The resumption of fighting between FARDC and M23 violates directives agreed by the 11 member states of the ICGLR who are working to restore much needed peace in the Eastern DRC,” said Mushikiwabo.

At least 10 people have been confirmed dead in the clashes and thousands of Congolese refugees are fleeing to Rwanda.

“This violence close to our border has direct repercussions on us – we have already seen civilians injured today from stray bullets on Rwandan territory as well as renewed influx of Congolese refugees. We do not want any further casualties,” said Mushikiwabo.

She further said the violent activities of the FARDC, M23 and other armed groups in DRC must stop because they continue to jeopardise ongoing regional efforts to bring about lasting peace and security in Eastern DRC.

“We look forward to the findings of the ICGLR Joint Verification Mechanism that is already on the ground and Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre on this situation and hope that this will facilitate immediate containment,” said the Minister.

The expanded Joint Verification Mechanism was previously a bilateral arrangement between Rwanda and DRC designed to verify allegations against either side that was enlarged in September to include representatives from all the ICGLR member states.

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