FARDC and Wazalendo Withdrawal from Mweso

According to Radio Okapi, on Wednesday, January 24th, the FARDC, having arrived in the town of Mweso, subsequently withdrew to the village of Bukama in evening, just 2 kilometers away. This strategic retreat comes amidst a resurgence of clashes in the Masisi territory, an area that has seen repeated hostilities.

The situation in Mwesso has been described as chaotic, with the FARDC engaging in gunfire against rebel forces within the town. Amidst this turmoil, a significant portion of the local population has sought refuge in the General Hospital and the parish of Mwesso. These civilians, having been caught in the crossfire since the morning, find themselves in a precarious and dangerous situation.

This recent escalation follows three days of renewed fighting in the region, marking a continuation of the conflict between M23 rebels, local armed groups, and the FARDC. The human cost of this conflict was starkly illustrated last Monday, when a 15-year-old boy was killed and two women were severely injured in a bomb explosion in a neighborhood of Mwesso. This tragic incident, as per local sources, occurred during the ongoing battles between M23 rebels, local armed factions, and the FARDC.

However, it’s worth noting that a relative calm has been reported on other fronts, particularly along the Karuba-Mushaki axis to the south of Masisi and towards Kibumba-Buhumba. This suggests a complex and fluid situation on the ground, with varying levels of conflict intensity across different areas.