The M23 rebels have agreed to cede strategic territory in eastern DRC.

Last updated on December 24th, 2022 at 09:03 am

The M23 rebel group, which has taken control of large swaths of land in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has announced that it will withdraw from a strategic front-line position. The M23 rebel group briefly took control of Goma, a city with a population of over one million people, during their first major uprising in 2012. The rebels said in a statement on Friday that they would leave their position in the town of Kibumba, which is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Goma.

Kibumba is located on a crucial route that leads to the city, and it is currently on the front line of the conflict between the M23 and Congolese army. The M23 said that it would be giving over Kibumba to the military force of the East African Community as a “goodwill gesture” in keeping with recent peace discussions that took place in the capital city of Angola, Luanda. It urged the authorities in Kinshasa to “take this opportunity with both hands” in the statement.

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The Tutsi-led militia known as the M23 rebel group reemerged from dormancy at the end of the previous year. Since then, they have moved across the volatile province of North Kivu in the country and prompted hundreds of thousands of civilians to leave in dread.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has accused its smaller neighbor in central Africa, Rwanda, of providing support for the group, which Kigali has categorically denied. However, the United States of America and France, along with a number of other Western countries and specialists from the United Nations, concur with the DRC’s conclusion.

Additionally, Rwanda was not allowed to participate in a regional peacekeeping contingent, even though Burundi and Kenya have already contributed troops to the effort. On November 23, parties from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda met in Luanda, the capital of Angola, to negotiate the terms of a cease-fire.

As part of the agreement, the M23 was supposed to first give up their weapons and then retreat from the captured regions. The rebels, on the other hand, did not move from their positions.