the north kivu attack resulted in at least eight fatalities in the democratic republic of the congo

The North Kivu attack resulted in at least eight fatalities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s eastern region was the scene of an attack on Wednesday that claimed the lives of at least eight people, including five women and two children, according to local sources that the AFP spoke to.

An anonymous member of the local Red Cross who was present at the scene stated under the condition of anonymity that “around one o’clock in the morning, eight civilians were killed” in Bungushu, which is located in the province of North Kivu. At least four of them “were killed with axes,” he continued, and the bodies of four more of them had “been found in toilets.”.

On the same condition that they remain anonymous, a member of civil society confirms this assessment. He does not provide any details regarding the identity of those who carried out the attack; however, he does state that “elements of the M23,” which is an armed group composed primarily of Tutsis, were seen in the city on Tuesday evening. According to the Twitter account of the Kivu Security Barometer (KST), which is a network of analysts headquartered in eastern DRC, “the M23 is suspected” of having performed this attack against civilians during “the pursuit of a Nyatura CMC (combatant),” which is a primarily Hutu armed group operating in the area.

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Isaac Kibira, an administrative official of the Tongo groupement, where Bungushu is located, stated to AFP that “M23 elements made an incursion into the village of Bungushu and massacred the population; more or less nine people lost their lives.” Yet the M23 is accused of carrying out this attack; on Wednesday, they issued a press release in which they condemned “the killings (…) which took place on the night of July 4 to 5, 2023, in Bungushu, Tongo, and their surroundings,” which they attributed to “Kinshasa government forces.”

At the end of 2021, the M23 rebels once again took up arms and were successful in seizing significant swaths of land in North Kivu, which is located in eastern DRC and borders Rwanda and Uganda. Despite Kigali’s denials, Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of arming and fighting alongside this insurgency from the very beginning.

In a report that was released in June, the American organisation Human Rights Watch stated that “the murders and rapes committed relentlessly by the M23 are encouraged by the military support that Rwandan commanders provide to the rebel armed group.” In December of the previous year, the United Nations accused the M23 of being responsible for the deaths of more than 170 civilians in the village of Kishishe, which is located approximately fifteen kilometres north of Bungushu.