Rebels and government soldiers have accused each other of fueling current violence in eastern DRC, which threatens to spill over into the city of Goma, the largest city in North Kivu province.
Violent clashes between them M23 rebels and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) armed forces, supported by soldiers from the United Nations mission, have resulted in civilians from the areas of Jomba and Kibumba, just 20 km from the city of Goma, fled.
The M23 rebels and the Congolese army exchanged allegations about who attacked first, with each blaming the other party.
On Wednesday evening, the Congolese army claimed weapons and having other abandoned military items confiscated by armed groups. The weapons were confiscated for inspection.
General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesman for the military governor of North Kivu, said that the military items recovered from the abandoned rebel areas “were not used by or by the FARDC become the M23 terrorists”.
This prompted Governor Constant Ndima, head of operations in North Kivu, “to refer the matter to the expanded joint review mechanism of the International Great Lakes Conference to establish the origin investigating these incidents”.
On Monday, the Rwandan Defense Forces had referred to the same joint review mechanism for investigations into “cross-border shelling on Rwandan territory by DRC forces,” according to a Rwandan Defense Forces statement.
Colonel Ronald Rwivanga, spokesman for the Rwandan Army, said the “incident” resulted in injuries to Ziv ilists and other damage.
The Rwandan army has now stepped up security measures along the border with the DRC’s Nyiragongo territory, even as Congolese troops backed by the UN mission say , they drove out the rebels from Goma.
The situation in the Great Lakes region is attracting international attention.
The UN Security Council “strongly condemns the attack on Monusco and the FARDC and calls on all armed groups to participate unconditionally in the political process in Nairobi.”
UN Security Council members expressed “concern at the current humanitarian situation in eastern DRC, characterized by a significant increase in the number of people in need of protection and humanitarian assistance.”
The Executive Board of the African Union, meeting on Wednesday to mark African Day, condemned ted the resurgence of the M23.
During the plenary session, DRC Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula publicly accused Rwanda of supporting the M23.
Major Willy Ngoma, spokesman for the M23, denied any support from Rwanda.
Kigali later denied any involvement in the rebels.
In Kinshasa on Wednesday “a crisis meeting” was held with Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde and Célestin Mbala, Chief of Staff of the DRC Armed Forces.
On Friday, some Congolese protesters trying to demonstrate outside the Rwandan embassy in the DRC were arrested after Rwanda was reported to have invaded the M23 were dispersed by police in Kinshasa.
Due With the escalating conflict in North Kivu, President Félix Tshisekedi returned to Kinshasa on Thursday evening to closely monitor the security situation . He returned from a “private trip” to Nairobi after his three-day state visit to Burundi.
His office says he will also not travel to Equatorial Guinea for the African Union summit as previously planned.