Dozens of demonstrators on Sunday expressed satisfaction over the expulsion of Vincent Karega, Rwanda’s ambassador to the DRC after months of tensions and accusations of support for the M23 rebel group, an accusation Rwanda has repeatedly denied.
The protesters on foot and on motorcycles, went around churches to call for a big demonstration gainst what they termed the Rwandan invasion, affirming their support for the Congolese army in the face of the rebellion
They further called for the Congolese army to be equipped and be given “weapons so that they can fight against Rwanda”.
“The expulsion of the Rwandan ambassador to the DRC is a long overdue request from the Congolese population. This population had long since asked the government to expel him, especially since tangible proofs have shown that it is Rwanda that is aggressing the Democratic Republic of Congo in the territory of Rutshuru,” expressed activist Placide Nzilamba.
The African Union (AU) on Sunday called for “an immediate ceasefire” in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where the M23 rebels are continuing their offensive against the Congolese army and are now a few dozen kilometers from Goma, capital of North Kivu.
The AU, which says it is “extremely concerned” by the deteriorating security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, “calls on all parties to establish an immediate ceasefire, to respect international law, the safety of civilians and the stability of the borders of all countries in the region.
For the past week, the Congolese army has been facing an offensive by M23 fighters on several fronts in North Kivu province.
On Saturday, Kiwanja and Rutshuru-Centre were conquered by the M23, who did not encounter much resistance. Tens of thousands of people have fled their villages since the fighting resumed.
No civilian casualties have been encountered so far, but tens of thousands of people have fled their villages since the fighting resumed ten days ago.
So far, the Rwandan government still firmly denies any implication with the M23 and claims in return that the DRC is collaborating with Rwandan Hutu rebels.
The M23 was formed in 2012, claiming to defend the interests of Congolese Tutsis, a group sharing the ethnicity of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, against Hutu armed groups, seizing Goma, the largest city in DR Congo’s east, the same year. After a peace deal in 2013, many M23 fighters were integrated into the national military.
The group resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, accusing the government of having failed to honour an agreement over the demobilisation of its fighters.