North-Kivu: Artillery Fire Near Sake, Calm and Tensions on Other Frontlines

On Sunday, February 11, 2024, an incident in Sake, a locality within the Democratic Republic of Congo, resulted in three individuals being injured due to a bomb explosion. Local sources reported that among the injured was a woman. The bomb is believed to have been launched from the Kiuli axis, an area where M23 rebels hold positions. The victims were initially treated at the Sake Afya health center and were shortly thereafter transferred to the CBCA Ndosho Hospital in Goma for further care, as confirmed by a Sake resident.


The M23 spokesperson released a statement via their X account, timed at 11:00 AM on February 11, 2024. The statement accused coalition forces of the “illegitimate regime of Kinshasa,” including the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo), FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), mercenaries, militias, the National Defense Forces of Burundi, and the SADC (Southern African Development Community) forces from Tanzania and South Africa, of attacking densely populated areas in Nturo, Yerusalemu, Nkingo, and surrounding locales with heavy artillery. The M23 spokesperson accused President Tshisekedi Tshilombo’s coalition of continuous civilian massacres and highlighted the unprecedented crisis in Masisi, calling for urgent humanitarian intervention.

The general situation along the front lines on this day did not involve ground confrontations between the FARDC and the M23-RDF coalition, but was marked by the sound of heavy artillery fire from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. The locations affected included hills overlooking Sake in the Kamuronza groupment at Nturo, Yerusalemu, and Nkingo, as well as along the Kirotshe-Bweremana axis in the neighboring Mupfuni Shanga groupment within the Bahunde chiefdom in Masisi territory.

Military sources claim the bomb that wounded three people in Sake came from a western position held by M23 rebels. Despite the violence, there has been a gradual return of the population to Sake, who had fled to Goma the previous Wednesday, although fears for their safety remain high due to the ongoing bombing.

Additionally, cellular network disruptions affecting Airtel, Orange, and Africell services in Sake and surrounding areas have been reported since the morning of Saturday, February 10. An M23 source indicated that the group, stationed near Kiuli where these network antennas are located, has refused fuel supplies for generators, fearing infiltration.

However, relative calm has been observed around the Sake-Minova road for four days. Medical sources in the area report that M23-RDF forces are concentrated near the Mushindi primary school at the entrance to Kirotshe, as well as in Shasha to Kituva, with others positioned on the hills overlooking the Sake-Minova road. Near Minova in the Bweremana locality, the Congolese army thwarted attempts by M23 and RDF forces on Thursday and Friday, maintaining control of the area.