The demobilized M23 rebel movement has warned it will not look on idly as insecurity worsens in Eastern Congo after militia groups including ADF have in recent months carried out attacks in villages, killing scores in cold blood.
M23 Chairman Bertrand Bisiimwa told chimpreports on Wednesday that killings, kidnappings, looting of people’s property and robbing of vehicles have increased in the territories of Rutshuru, Masisi, Nyiragongo and Walikale.
He further said the “resurgence of ethnic tensions in the territories of Lubero, Masisi, Rutshuru and Walikale are likely to plunge the Eastern Congo into tribal violence.”
Bisiimwa, the political head of the once lethal military outfit, went ahead to claim that regular army officers are involved in the killings and illegal exploitation of mineral quarries in provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema.
The M23’s statement comes at a time when DRC is facing a political crisis ahead of the November 2016 elections.
A military conflict in Eastern Congo would exacerbate the already tense situation.
Government recently commenced talks with a few opposition groups to find a solution to the political impasse and the dialogue is being mediated by former chairman of the Organization of African Unity, Edem Kodjo.
Bisiimwa said it would not respect the conclusions of the dialogue “as it doesn’t include the M23’s concerns contained in the Declarations of Nairobi of December 12, 2013.”
He further stated that the current dialogue is not likely to provide appropriate solutions to the recurrent problems haunting the people of Eastern Congo such as widespread insecurity, presence of foreign armed groups, inter-ethnic tensions and failure to return refugees.
A source in M23 said the group would not rule out the possibility of acting to save the situation. “The situation in eastern Congo is getting out of hand yet those who are supposed to act seem indifferent,” warned a member of the M23.
The military outfit was in 2013 defeated by a joint force of troops from DRC, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania before fleeing to Uganda and Rwanda.