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Protests break out in eastern Congo over ongoing conflict

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Protests erupted on Monday in cities of Goma on the DRC side and Rubavu in Rwanda over ongoing conflicts in the area.

Police used live ammunition to disperse the protesters who are unhappy with the ongoing war between the Congolese army and the rebel group they claim to get help from the neighboring country of Rwanda.

Thousands joined the protests after Kinshasa recalled its interim acting ambassador from Kigali in a further souring of relations.

On Saturday, the DR Congo asked Rwanda’s ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours insisting Kigali is still supporting the rebels.

Rwanda has repeatedly denied this long-standing accusations that it backs the M23, a Tutsi-led rebel group that has attacked Congolese forces near the Rwandan border since 2012.

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Tensions escalated this month after the group launched a new offensive in North Kivu province and captured the strategic town of Kiwanja on Saturday.

The African Union has called for ceasefire as the security situation there deteriorates further.

The M23 rebels have now widened their grip of some territories by cutting North Kivu’s capital Goma off from the upper half of the province.

In a statement the AU expressed “extreme concern at the deteriorating security situation in Eastern provinces in the DRC.”

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It has now called on “all the parties to establish an immediate ceasefire, respect international law, the safety and security of civilians and the stability at the borders of all countries in the region.”

The African Union in its statement also expressed “full support to the Luanda Roadmap aimed at normalising the political relations between the DRC and Rwanda.”

It also wants all “parties to participate in good faith in the third Inter-Congolese peace dialogue in Nairobi from 4th to 13th November 2022,” towards resolving the tensions currently prevailing.

Rwanda’s president has also said in a statement that he has held talks with the United Nations’ Secretary General on the ongoing conflict in DRC.

“The ways and means to de-escalate…and address the issues to a peaceful end are with us building on the Nairobi, Luanda & other international efforts! We just have to commit ourselves to applying them,” Kagame said.

M23 rose to prominence when its fighters in 2012 captured Goma, the largest city in DRC’s east, before a joint Congolese-UN offensive drove them out.

After a peace deal, the outfit remained dormant for years and many of its fighters were integrated into the national military.

But it resumed fighting in late 2021, accusing that the government of failing to honor its commitments under the deal signed in 2013.

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