DR Congo jets bomb M23 rebel targets in east, official says | news
The airstrikes came after M23 rebels seized territory in eastern Congo, displacing at least 90,000 people over the past month.
Democratic Republic of Congo fighter jets have bombed rebel targets in the bombed east, intensifying the country’s fight against M23 groupwhich has occupied territory in recent weeks.
Kinshasa blamed neighboring Rwanda supporting the rebels and expelling the Rwandan ambassador last week, sparking tensions between the two countries. Kigali has long denied providing support to the M23.
Jean-Claude Bambaz, civil society president in Rutshuru, North Kivu state, told The Associated Press that airstrikes were reported in the villages of Chanzu and Musungati, about 35 km (22 miles) from Rutshuru.
“We see Congolese warplanes coming in and out,” he said. “We call on the Congolese government to end the M23 case quickly, as people have already fled their homes and others are confined to camps without humanitarian aid.”
Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb in North Kivu’s capital Goma says recent M23 advances have displaced at least 90,000 people since fighting resumed in the region last month.
There was no immediate confirmation or comment on the airstrikes reported by the Congolese military. However, M23 spokesman Lawrence Kanyuka accused the army of attacking densely populated areas and “violating the call for dialogue”.
“This belligerent option is counterproductive and puts the lives of many civilians in the areas under our control at extreme risk and exacerbates the humanitarian situation in the region,” Kanyuka said in a statement.
A predominantly Congolese Tutsi group, M23 first rose to prominence in 2012, briefly seizing the main city of Goma. After the peace agreement in 2013, many M23 fighters were integrated into the national army.
The group resumed fighting in late 2021, saying the DPRK had not followed through on a promise to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.
In a show of force, the DPRK military began training about 3,000 new recruits in Goma on Monday.
A resident of the strategic town of Bunagana on the Ugandan border, which the M23 captured in June, confirmed to the AFP news agency that the plane had struck the area.
“It’s every man for himself,” he said, describing how residents fled across the Ugandan border.
Local civil society representative Damien Sebuzanan also said Bunagana residents had fled.
The DPRK deployed two Sukhoi-25 jets to the restive east over the weekend after the M23 overran a number of settlements along a key highway to Goma.
Rwanda accused the Democratic Republic of Congo of provocation after a Congolese fighter jet entered Rwandan airspace on Monday. The DRC said that was a mistake.
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