Congo: M23 insurgents occupying abandoned lands

politics | Oct 09, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

Tension in North Kivu, an area in the eastern sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has increased due to the transfer, without any coordination with local authorities, of refugees from Tanzania.
 
According to the Fides news agency, the Provincial Coordination of Civil Society in North Kivu reported that about a thousand Rwandan families entered the territory of Rutshuru under escort of the Rwandan military and their M23 - a rebel movement that operates in the Congolese province that has destabilized the area for years.
 
Since October 3, young refugee families have been subjected to compulsory military training in Chanzu. M23 has initiated a census of houses and fields abandoned by the local people who fled because of the fighting between M23 and government forces. It is feared that these properties are transferred to newcomers without any form of compensation to the legitimate owners.
 
The Coordinating Committee also stressed that "the M23 is trying to deceive the public into believing that these people are Congolese refugees who are returning from Rwanda. However, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has not repatriated any Congolese from Rwanda to the DRC.
 
Meanwhile, "Le Potentiel" newspaper reports that negotiations in Kampala (Uganda) between Kinshasa and Kigali have in fact failed, and the two countries are likely to start military confrontation. The dispute between the two has divided the RDC for years with the two eastern neighbors, Uganda and Rwanda, accused by Kinshasa of fueling instability in the neighboring Congolese provinces by supporting the various guerrilla groups. 


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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