DR Congo: M23 Rebels Seize Strategic Mining Town of Ruby Amid International Concerns

Early on Tuesday morning, April 30, the M23 rebel group, reportedly supported by Rwanda, launched coordinated attacks on several military positions held by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and local militia group Wazalendo. The conflict centered around Rubaya, a key mining town in the Masisi territory of the North Kivu province.

By 11:17 AM, the M23 had managed to capture two key hills overlooking Rubaya. The fighting continued as the local youth militia, the Patriotes Wazalendo, fiercely defended the town, determined to prevent its fall.

Despite these efforts, by 1:00 PM the same day, M23 rebels, in conjunction with the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF), successfully took control of Rubaya and its surrounding areas. This victory grants the M23/RDF control over significant mineral resources, a strategic advantage that will likely aid in reinforcing their positions and continuing their operations.

The occupation has prompted several analysts to criticize the Kinshasa government for its perceived delay in responding to the rebel preparations, suggesting that this allowed the M23 sufficient time to organize and strengthen their offensive.

This development drew international attention when French President Emmanuel Macron publicly urged Rwandan President Paul Kagame to cease support for the M23 and withdraw his forces from Eastern DRC. This statement was made during a joint press conference with Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi at the Elysée Palace in Paris. President Macron emphasized that he would reiterate his call for Rwandan disengagement from the conflict in the coming days.