The March 23 Movement (M23) rebels have claimed the capture of Rubaya town in Masisi territory, North Kivu province as intense fighting with Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo(FARDC) soldiers and coalition intensifies in the area.   

The town also hosts Rubaya Coltan mines. Lieutenant Colonel Willy Ngoma, the M23 rebels’ military spokesperson on Tuesday night released a short statement claiming the capture of the town and areas in the surroundings as well as the impounding of many guns and ammunition from the opponent.  

Ngoma also threatened that M23 would now fight heading to the country’s capital Kishasha if the government did not agree to negotiation.  

“This Tuesday, April 30, 2024, the AFC/M23 recovered the strategic mining city of Rubaya in the territory of Masisi and its surroundings.  Many weapons were taken. If Tshisekedi does not agree to negotiate with the lions of Sarambwe, very soon the M23 will take Kinshasa”, says Ngoma in a statement.   

In the morning hours, M23’s political spokesperson had issued a statement accusing FARDC soldiers and a coalition of launching an assault against M23 positions in Karuba, Mushaki, Kagundu and their surrounding areas. Various civilian sources in the area also confirmed the capture of Rubaya town and mines by M23 rebels.    

“M23 rebels opened fire against FARDC soldiers and Wazalendo (patriots) from several fronts notably Kabashumba, Bihambwe and Kishusha.  This led FARDC and Wazalendo to retreat. 

The majority of people in Rubaya were unable to flee as fighting intensified because the rebels managed to control the main exit routes. However, the situation remains confusing”, says a civilian source in the area.   Government army is yet to release a statement about the situation.  

M23 rebels continue to conquer more positions in Rutshuru, Masisi, and Nyiragongo territories despite resistance from FARDC and the coalition. Four months after the deployment of foreign troops under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in North Kivu province, success has been registered in uprooting M23 rebels from the captured positions.  

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 vehemently deny these claims. 

The rebels assert that they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia and discrimination within the leadership of DR Congo. 


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