Strategic Promotions within M23 Amid Regional Tensions

Kinshasa, January 25, 2024 – Bertrand Bisimwa, the president of M23, has announced the promotion of nine senior officers within the group.

The official statement, released and signed by Bisimwa, details the advancements. Colonel Gacheri Musanga Justin has been elevated to the rank of Brigadier General. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Nsanze Nzamuye and Karangwa Bihire Justin have ascended to the rank of Colonel.

Further promotions were awarded to officers who previously held the rank of Major. This group includes Willy Ngoma, Nsengiyumva Mutekano Innocent, Mbanjimbere Innocent, Makomari Ruben, Kasongo Papy, and Mwiseneza Gakwaya Christian, all of whom have been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

Additionally, nine lower-ranking soldiers have been promoted to the rank of Sous-Lieutenant. These are Sebuntu Kabagema Léonard, Mushikiwabo Louise, Mubibya Innocent, Irumva Justin, Byamungu Dieudonné, Kigabo Jacques, Kalinda James, Ndayishimiye Théogène, and Byiringiro Bienvenu.

These promotions are part of a broader reorganization within M23, especially within its propaganda and financial branches.

In a strategic move, the armed group has also restructured the leadership in the Rutshuru territory to enhance the “protection of the security” of the residents and their properties.

These changes come at a time when the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and their allies are initiating major offensives aimed at dislodging M23 from the territories they control.

The M23 has been frequently cited in numerous United Nations expert reports as being supported by Rwanda, a claim corroborated by several European countries and the United States. The group has also been repeatedly accused by human rights organizations of crimes against humanity, including the murder and mistreatment of civilians.

On social media, M23 supporters often appear to collaborate openly with those backing the Rwandan government, especially in their critiques of the DRC government, leaders of the Great Lakes region, or the Rwandan opposition. Some experts say that M23 leaders receive orders from Kigali. Analysts observe that this online support dynamic mirrors broader geopolitical tensions in the region. Interactions on social media reveal a coordinated strategy to shape public opinion, both regionally and internationally, in favor of the stances of M23 and Rwanda.