A United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) soldier is recovering from injuries sustained during fighting alongside Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers and coalition forces against the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels in Lubero and Rutshuru territories, North Kivu province, on Friday.

Fierce fighting occurred in Kanyabayonga, Lubero territory, as MONUSCO, FARDC, and coalition forces prevented M23 rebels from conquering Kanyabayonga town. Additional clashes took place along the Kikuku-Kanyabayonga road in the northern part of the Bwito chiefdom, Kikuku town, and along the Kabasha-Coat of Arms road in Virunga National Park towards Rwindi in Rutshuru territory.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Mensah Kedagni, MONUSCO spokesperson in the area, the soldier was injured when a bomb hit the MONUSCO base. Kedagni also reported that the fighting caused massive displacement of civilians towards Kania, Miriki, and Kirumba in Lubero and Butembo. He emphasized that MONUSCO will continue to protect and assist displaced people by its mandate. However, he did not disclose where the injured soldier was admitted or the origin of the bomb.

Sources from FARDC indicated that their forces, along with coalition partners, managed to dislodge M23 rebels from positions in Mirangi, Lusuli, and Kyaghala, located about 20 kilometers southwest of Kanyabayonga. Despite this, M23 maintains control over the villages of Lusogha and Bulindi. Recently, M23 rebels accused MONUSCO of aiding FARDC, following MONUSCO’s declaration of coalition with FARDC to patrol Kanyabayonga town and prevent M23’s advancement.

In March 2022, M23, led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, initiated a conflict against the government. The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, although both Rwanda and M23 deny these claims. The rebels assert that they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination within the DR Congo leadership.

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