North Kivu: New armed clashes erupt between the FARDC and M23 in North Kivu - 28 October 2013
Context and major events
Fighting between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M-23 armed group resumed last Friday 25 October around 3 a.m. in Kanyamahoro, located 20 km north of Goma, North Kivu’s provincial capital. Simultaneously, other armed offensives were launched by the FARDC on different roads of the Rutshuru Territory.
24 hours later, the fighting reached the villages of Kiwanja and central Rutshuru, enabling the FARDC to gradually take control of it and to proceed on the main Rutshuru – Goma and Burai – Bunagana axis (east of central Rutshuru). By 28 October, the FARDC was controlling the Kibumba area (Nyiragongo territory) as well as the villages of Kahunga, Kiwanja, central Rutshuru, Kalengera, Rumangabo and Rugari (Rutshuru territory).
The FARDC are thought to be progressing towards Bunagana, situated in the eastern part of the Rutshuru territory towards the Ugandan border where, according to several sources, M-23 withdrew.
These new developments are taking place two months after the fighting in the month of August when 15 civilians were killed and 30 were wounded.
This week-end, a soldier from MONUSCO was killed during the fighting.
According to the information received on 28 October 2013, more than 10,000 people (2 050 families) have found refuge in eight public buildings (churches and schools) in Kanyaruchinya. According to the North-Kivu Civil Protection, close to 12,500 other people (2 500 families) are also settled with host families. Most families fled Kibumba and the surrounding areas about 10 days ago as due to the preparation of military operations. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that over 1,000 people crossed the Rwandan border, while no movement was reported at the Ugandan border. OCHA and UNHCR are closely following the movements of people in the neighbouring countries.
In the Rutshuru territory, movements of people are being reported on the Kiwanja – Nyamilima – Ishasha axis as well as towards Katale and Kalengera, owing to the FARDCs’ advance towards Rumangabo, situated about 50 km north of Goma), however, figures are not available yet..
The fighting at Kiwanja and central Rutshuru led to the displacement of some of the inhabitants to the MONUSCO base in Kiwanja, but they have all gone back home now. A few houses were destroyed by shells, but the damages are fairly limited.
Due to failures on the telephone network, access to information remains difficult in the Rutshuru territory.
Emergency needs and humanitarian aid
In Kanyaruchinya, the Civil Protection department is providing drinking water to various public sites and has put in place sanitary committees; but its capacities are limited. Discussions are being held to position other actors.
A rapid protection assessment is being carried out by the NGO, IEDA Relief.
International NGO COOPI supports the Kanyaruchinya Health Centre and has augmented the number of health practitioners. The NGO also supports the Munigi health facility.
Mine clearance operations and the clearing of non-exploded devices are necessary in the areas where fighting took place, so as to enable people to move around freely and to be able to return safely to their respective environments. The sessions of Education to the Risks of Mines and explosive war devices is absolutely indispensable to help the people living in affected areas, as well as the returned people, to adopt a responsible attitude towards non-exploded devices, and thus reduce the risks of accident happening to them.
Access to vulnerable populations, the respect of humanitarian principles and the protection of civilians remain a major preoccupation for the humanitarian community and must be guaranteed by all the stakeholders in the conflicts.
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