Deadly Clash in DRC As Army Clashes With Rebels

M23 rebels and DR Congo troops clashed heavily in North Kivu province on Friday, as Angola’s president pursued diplomatic efforts to bring peace between neighbors Kinshasa and Kigali.

Tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda are at an all-time high, with the DRC accusing its smaller neighbor of supporting the M23, which the Rwandan government denies.

Locals reported hearing heavy artillery fire around Rugari, in Rutshuru territory, beginning early in the morning as the army targeted M23 combatants.

The DRC military deployed Sukhoi-25 jets and Mi-24 helicopters this week against the M23, a Tutsi Congolese militia.

After years of dormancy, M23 resurfaced in 2021 and resumed fighting, claiming the DRC had failed to honor a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.

For nearly three decades, Eastern DRC has been plagued by armed groups, many of which were left over from the wars that ravaged the region in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Angolan President Joao Lourenco arrived in Rwanda on Friday as part of diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict with the DRC, and is scheduled to arrive in Kinshasa on Saturday.

Kinshasa expelled Rwanda’s ambassador and recalled its envoy from Kigali at the end of last month.

In July, an Angola-mediated summit between Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi yielded a roadmap for ending the conflict.

Kenya’s parliament approved the deployment of more than 900 troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a regional force established to try to restore security in the east on Wednesday.