KINSHASA, (The Southern African Times) – A group of unidentified fighters have seized several villages near the city of Goma, capital of North Kivu province in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since Monday morning, according to local security and civil society sources.
According to the sources, the group attacked an army position early Monday before taking control of several villages near the border with Uganda.
In Kinshasa, the DRC capital, security sources are talking about the possible presence of former rebels of the March 23 movement (M23), which was neutralized by government forces a few years ago.
Hundreds of local residents, including women and children, have crossed the border into Uganda for fear of the rebels’ advance toward other cities in the region, according to local civil society.
The DRC government has not yet officially commented on the development Monday.
Security forces of North Kivu province have arrived at the city of Rutshuru, a few kilometers from the site of the clashes, to monitor the situation, according to local security sources who requested anonymity.
This latest attack came amid mounting violence in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where armed groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been active.
The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government, which M23 leaders claimed had not been respected by the government.