South Kivu: Clash Between Twirwaneho Militia and Congolese Military Forces

On March 6, 2024, the militia group Twirwaneho engaged in a violent confrontation with a joint military patrol comprising the Congolese Military Forces (FARDC) and the Burundian National Defence Force in Nyawaranga, within the Bijombo groupment, Uvira territory, South Kivu. This encounter, marked by an ambush set by the Twirwaneho militia against the military position, resulted in three fatalities and multiple injuries, as reported by military sources.

The military patrol, a part of a task force, was navigating from the village of Mugeti towards the Nyawaranga area to identify advanced positions of the Twirwaneho and their allies. The assailants launched an unexpected attack at the foot of the mountain, utilizing the strategic advantage of the terrain and the Kanangananga River’s banks, employing a rocket against the patrol. This led to the death of three FARDC members and one injury, while retaliatory fire resulted in the death of a Twirwaneho battalion commander, Mudakikwa, and injuries to three militia members.

Following the skirmish, the joint task force succeeded in expelling the attackers, securing control over the entire mountainous region. Amisi Tete, the chief of the Bijombo groupment, confirmed that the attack occurred away from civilian settlements, in the wilderness of Nyawaranga, highlighting the absence of civilian casualties in the immediate vicinity of the clash.

In response to the incident, Twirwaneho released a statement on March 6, 2024, on their social media account, denouncing the attacks led by the FARDC and their allies, the Wazalendo, supported by the Burundian Forces, against the Banyamulenge civilian populations in the highlands of Uvira. The group condemned the assaults on March 2 and 6, which targeted civilians and resulted in significant material damage. Twirwaneho criticized the involvement of the Burundian National Defence Forces, questioning their role in what they perceive as an ethnic cleansing campaign.