Humanitarian Truce Between Army and Rebels in Eastern DRC Reportedly Comes Into Force

© AFP 2023 ALEXIS HUGUET

The Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been suffering from insecurity caused by various rebel groups, most notably, the M23 group. The instability in the region led to extensive displacement of the population, with millions of individuals being compelled to flee their homes, according to the UN humanitarian agency OCHA.

A two-week truce came into force on Friday in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between government forces and rebels from the March 23 (M23) movement, Congolese news portal Actualite reported.

The truce is reportedly of a humanitarian nature and is intended to facilitate access to aid for the local population in need, as well as facilitate the return of refugees to their homes, the electronic publication notes. There are currently 3 million refugees and displaced persons in the province.

The United States participated in reaching the ceasefire agreement, the presidency noted.

Over the past two weeks, rebel forces have advanced in the north of the province and were able to capture three major cities: Kanyabayonga, Kaiga and Kirumba, reports said. Their goal, according to the Congolese radio station Okapi, was to reach the vicinity of the strategically important city of Butembo. However, this week, government forces managed to stop the advance of the rebels 110 km south of Butembo. The most intense fighting took place near the city of Kasege, which is under the control of the Congolese army.

The M23 group first rebelled against the government in 2012. However, they disbanded in 2013 following its defeat by the UN-backed Congolese army. The movement resumed attacks in the DRC in 2021 after accusing the country’s authorities of failing to live up to their commitment to integrate Tutsis in the government and the army.

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