M23 attacks or Rwandan Army finally caught in its own trap

Recently just on 29 march 2022,the general Ekenge Sylvain spokesperson of the northern provincial government in the DRC presented two soldiers caught on the battlefield namely Adjudant Habyarimana Jean Pierre and private Uwajeneza Muhindi John  allegedly from the Rwandan Defence Forces(RDF) precisely 65th batalion headed by the lieutenant colonel Ruhindo Joseph part of the 402nd brigade leaded by the general Nkubito Eugene. There is then raised the issue to know whether the M23 rebels are really congolose nationals or just a part of rwandan army forces who operate incursions into Congolese territory under the political cover of the M23. There is also matter to wonder the impact of its strike force against Congolese forces since they have been reinforced by the Ugandan army in operations to drive out the ADF rebels.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, March 28,2022

Heavy fighting erupted overnight and continued on Monday in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo when fighters from the M23 rebel group attacked army positions near the border with Uganda and Rwanda, a local official and a witness said. Congo’s army confirmed the attacks and said the M23 were backed by Rwandan soldiers, two of whom it claimed to have captured. It named the two soldiers in a statement and presented them at a press conference late on Monday. Rwanda’s government spokesman, army spokesman and attorney general did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The M23 seized large swathes of territory during an insurrection in 2012 and 2013, before its fighters were chased out by Congolese and United Nations forces into Uganda and Rwanda. U.N. investigators have previously accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the group, which both countries have denied.

The clashes began at around 1 a.m. (2300 GMT) near the villages of Tshanzu and Runyonyi, around 50 km (31 miles) north-east of the provincial capital Goma, a witness in Runyonyi said.

“We don’t know who controls the area, but it looks like it’s a serious attack,” the witness told Reuters, adding that the fighting was more intense than previous clashes.

The Congolese army said in a statement that it was working to “rapidly re-establish state authority” in Tshanzu and Runyonyi.

The two strategic villages were the M23’s last redoubts before it was driven out of Congo in 2013. The group also briefly seized them in a similar overnight attack in November. read more

There have been regional efforts in recent years to have the M23 demobilize, but its leaders have complained about the slow implementation of a peace accord and accused the Congolese army of waging war against it.

“Our organisation, the M23, which has been able to patiently wait nine years for the implementation of the peace process, deplores this dreadful option of violence,” said M23 spokesman Willy Ngoma in a statement last week.

KINSHASA, March 28,2022 

Several army positions have come under attack by March 23 Movement (M23) rebels since early Monday in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to local security sources. M23 rebels have launched several attacks on positions of the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) in the Rutshuru territory, north of Goma, capital of North Kivu province, since 3:00 a.m. local time, according to military sources. Witnesses said sounds of heavy fighting lasted several hours and some local residents have fled to the border region, attempting to cross into Uganda, according to local sources. The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the DRC government. M23 leaders have accused the government of failing to respect that agreement

BENI, Congo 

Congo’s M23 rebel group denied on Wednesday 30th march 2022 that it shot down a United Nations helicopter that crashed in eastern Congo, killing all eight people onboard.Rebel spokesman Will Ngoma accused Congo’s army of firing on the helicopter. Congo’s military had earlier blamed the M23 for the crash of the U.N. helicopter. Eight U.N. peacekeepers were killed in the crash amid rebel fighting Sunday, the U.N. mission in Congo said. The bodies of the peacekeepers were taken to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, and an investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash, the U.N. mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, said. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. team would work in cooperation with the Congolese government. Those on board the Puma helicopter included six crew members — all from the Pakistani military — and two military personnel, one from the Russian Federation and one from Serbia, the U.N. said. It was one of two helicopters in eastern Congo to monitor the situation after the rebels attacked several villages in North Kivu, including Tchanzu near Rutshuru, Runyonyi, Ndiza and Tchengerero.

Dujarric said MONUSCO was continuing “to carry out reconnaissance in the area around Rutshuru to monitor the activities of armed groups and to do whatever it can to protect civilians,” and to support the Congolese army with information sharing, logistics, and first aid for injured soldiers. Pakistan’s military said that all the passengers had died, giving the names of the Pakistan pilot and crew. Eastern Congo is prone to insecurity as several armed groups are vying for control its mineral-rich lands. In 2012 the M23 rebels controlled large areas of eastern Congo, including Goma. The rebels were eventually pushed from eastern Congo into Uganda and Rwanda in 2013 by Congolese and United Nations forces. Despite ongoing efforts to disarm the group, M23 rebels have recently increased their attacks in the region. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply concerned by the resurgence of M23 activities in the border area” of Congo, close to Rwanda and Uganda, “as well as the ongoing impact of violence involving armed groups on civilians,” Dujarric said. M23 spokesman Ngoma said that the group remains a political and military movement in Congo and does not receive aid from neighbouring Rwanda or Uganda. “We have weapons that were left by the Congolese army on the battlefields,” he said, speaking on a mobile phone from an undisclosed location in eastern Congo. He said the group will stop its attacks if Congo will honour a peace accord it signed with them.

Groundless denials: rebuffing what everyone knows and sees 

Rwandan’s deputy government spokesman Alain Mukuralinda denies accusations by the military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of Kigali’s support for the revived M23 rebel movement in the east. He also denies that two men presented to journalists as Rwandan soldiers arrested during attacks on Congolese army bases were from the country. Defeated in 2013 by the Congolese army, the M23 has been in the news again since November, when it was accused of attacking several military positions. In particular, the movement blames the Kinshasa authorities for not having respected commitments made for the demobilization and reintegration of its fighters.“We categorically refute the baseless accusations” of the Congolese army, replied François Habitegeko, Governor of the Rwandan Western Province, in a statement on Tuesday. The Rwandan army “is in no way involved in warlike activities” in the DRC, he added.To back up his accusations, Congolese General Ekenge said that two Rwandan soldiers were arrested during Monday’s attacks and specified their identities: Warrant Officer Jean-Pierre Habyarimana and Private John Uwajeneza Muhindi, alias Zaje, of the 65th Battalion of the 402nd RDF Brigade.In a video message, Willy Ngoma, spokesman for the M23, also affirmed that the movement was “Congolese and did not benefit from any assistance, either near or far, from any neighboring country. “Since the massive arrival in the DRC of Rwandan Hutus accused of massacring Tutsis during the 1994 genocide, Rwanda has been regularly accused by Kinshasa of incursions into Congo and of supporting armed groups in the east.Relations eased with the accession to power in early 2019 of Felix Tshisekedi, who has met several times with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame. But the renewed activity of the M23 has revived suspicion.

However, Despite this rebuffs, As much as shortcomings in Kinshasa have much to answer for in spawning this and other crises, there is clear evidence of Rwandan support for M23 and it cannot – must not – be ignored. The United Nations Group of Experts on the Congo, research organisations such as Human Rights Watch, independent journalists and national intelligence agencies have all heard testimony and seen evidence of consistent Rwandan support for the rebels. Interviews with hundreds of deserters from FARDC and various armed groups, including M23, revealed the extent of Rwandan support in recruiting and arming M23 fighters. A number of M23 deserters independently and credibly claimed to be Rwandans who were recruited in Rwanda before being transferred to the rebel positions across the border. Interviews with FARDC commanders and intelligence officers, current M23 soldiers, and political and community leaders have all revealed Rwandan involvement inM23. The UN Group of Experts also uncovered incriminating radio communications, text messages and photographs, all of which are laid out in an addendum to their most recent report.

No action without interest 

the ex-CNDP networks in the Congolese army (the Forces armées de la république démocratique du Congo [FARDC]) set about establishing a parallel chain of command and a lucrative smuggling racket. The Kivu provinces are rich in mineral resources; from 2009 these minerals were smuggled into Rwanda in huge quantities, with Rwandan exports of certain minerals outstripping domestic production. The ex-CNDP networks also provided security for the numerous Rwandan business interests in the Kivus. Kigali’s interests in maintaining ex-CNDP influence in the region were clear.

The modus operandi

To ignore the role of Rwandan geopolitical interest in the Kivus is to fatally undermine any effort to address the root causes of instability in eastern Congo. Rwanda still wants to ensure its presence on the soil of the DRC and to this end, it creates rebellions against any regime thanks to the Rwandans who have evolved in this country as former refugees but who benefit from dual Rwandan-Congolese nationality. Playing like double agents, they are Congolese on DRC soil and anyone who doubts them is accused of violating their fundamental rights, just because of their politico-military claims.

In this regard, the extent of Rwanda’s involvement is a vital and as yet unanswered question. Indeed, even if pro-Rwandan analysts pretend  that it is very difficult ‘to find proof that well-trained and heavily armed Rwandan troops are present across the border,’ however that is a rather misleading statement; most often the charges levelled at Rwanda have accused key army and government figures of managing the recruitment of civilians and reservists who are then armed and marched over the border to reinforce M23 positions, rather than of providing the rebels with ‘well-trained and heavily armed Rwandan troops’. Rwanda has also apparently provided other logistical support and intelligence for M23, while allowing individuals (including Nkunda) to operate from Rwanda to drum up support for the rebels. For Wallis to demand evidence of fully armed Rwandan battalions fighting against Congolese troops on Congolese soil is disingenuous; Rwandan support is more subtle, though no less serious, than any such extravagant claims. M23’s stated aim is to negotiate with the Congolese government in order to fully implement the terms of the 2009 peace deal signed with the CNDP; it seeks, in effect, to secure and strengthen the ex-CNDP control of the Kivu provinces. This, again, is clearly in Rwanda’s interest.


Vain efforts deployed by supporters of Rwandan regime to whitewash Rwanda’s role in the M23 incursions in the DRC contribute to perpetuate the cycle of violence in eastern Congo.None ignores that Rwanda Defence Forces have been always integral parts of all the Tutsi rebellions which destabilized the DRC since 1996 namely AFDL,RCD,CNDP and the current M23 and independent reports and technical investigations undoubtedly confirmed the facts. Moreover, their leaders like Nkunda, Makenga and Ntaganda were Rwandan soldiers who were trained in Uganda and participated in the RPF rebellion during the years 1990-1994. being former Rwandan refugees who have evolved in the DRC, they master the terrain and speak the local languages, which facilitates the reliability of their politico-ethnic claims

  otherwise, it may be politically inconvenient for supporters of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s regime to admit Rwandan culpability in the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Congolese, but if parallel interests that run contrary to Kinshasa’s ambitions continue to control the Kivus, peace will never come.