7 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group has blamed the Army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the attack carried out over the weekend against a United Nations Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) helicopter, which resulted in the death of a ‘blue helmet’.
The M23 has indicated in a statement that Kinshasa “has distanced itself from the conclusions” of the summit held on Saturday by regional leaders and has set “new conditions for a ceasefire”, amid the upsurge in fighting in the east of the african country.
“The DRC government’s decision was materialized on the ground with its shooting at a MONUSCO helicopter, something common when they are losing on the battlefield,” he said, before pointing to a similar incident in March 2022.
Thus, he stated that “MONUSCO, which has not yet published the conclusions of its investigations (on last year’s incident), knows all too well that this attack took place outside the areas controlled by the M23.”
“By attributing responsibility for the aforementioned attack to the M23 (…), the DRC government continues to consciously push MONUSCO to support its warmongering path against the M23,” said the spokesman for the group’s political wing, Lawrence kanyuka.
In this sense, he has denounced new attacks against “M23 positions” in Masisi on Monday and has argued that they “clearly reflect the DRC’s decision to ignore the resolutions” of the summit held in the Burundian city of Bujumbura.
“The continuing killings of Tutsi, the destruction and looting of Tutsi property by subordinates of the DRC Government in the city of Goma is definitive proof that the Government continues to create chaos, instead of promoting peace. and stability”, he explained.
Kanyuka also thanked the Catholic Church for its “act of bravery” in hosting 400 people in a monastery in Masisi who “escaped targeted killings and an ongoing genocide.” “Our movement implores our compatriots to continue rejecting this evil ideology and to follow the example of the Catholic monastery of Mokoto,” he concluded.
The M23 is a rebel group made up mainly of Congolese Tutsis and operating mainly in the North Kivu province. Following a conflict between 2012 and 2013, the RDC and the group signed a peace agreement in December. In these combats, the DRC Army had the support of United Nations troops. The group launched a new offensive in October 2022, intensified as of November, which has caused a diplomatic crisis between the DRC and Rwanda over their role in the conflict.
Rwanda has accused the DRC of supporting the Forces démocratiques pour la libération du Rwanda (FDLR) —a rebel armed group founded and composed mainly of Hutus responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda — and of using Mai-Mai militias. –Congolese nationalist militias formed to defend their tribal territory against the many rebel groups active since the 1990s– in the conflict. Likewise, he has denounced discrimination and acts of hate against the Tutsi minority in the neighboring country.