Fighters of the M23 movement have regained control of Mweso town in Masisi territory after intense gun battle with the armed forces of DRC.
Local sources indicate that other clashes were reported on Wednesday, in two fronts in the same territory of Masisi.
These are Karenga located in Virunga National Park and Kilolirwe on the road leading to Kitshanga.
On Tuesday, November 21, clashes were reported near Ndondo and Rusinga, two towns located in the territory of Masisi, in the province of North Kivu.
According to local media reports, the fighting pitted the young patriotic resistance fighters “Wazalendo” against the M23 figters.
Before conquering the city of Mweso, the M23 fighters occupied all the locality of Ndondo.
The self-defense groups had retreated to an area called Karton on the Kitshanga road.
The DRC’s leadership is now seeking support from another regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (Sadec). Sadec has pledged to deploy a military unit to North Kivu in the coming days.
The Sadec mission will support the Congolese army in its quest to root out M23 and other armed groups operating in eastern Congo.
It’s still unclear if these troops will replace the east African force, or cooperate with it.
Either way, this deployment comes on the heels of the gradual planned exit of UN peacekeepers from DRC starting in December 2023.
The primary mission for the Sadec force would be to stabilise and contribute towards peacebuilding in eastern DRC.
The danger is that this mission, especially if deployed under the banner of the Congolese national army, could end up condoning the army’s perspective.
This perspective tends to concentrate on the danger posed by M23 and disregards the armed groups (more than 120) operating in eastern Congo. Further, it tends to accommodate other armed groups that commit atrocities against civilians. In countering M23 attacks, the army has co-opted foreign and local militias, providing them with guns and ammunition.
The Sadec mission in the DRC may end up trapped in the Congolese army’s approach. This would be dangerous for the stability of the region. Some of these local and foreign militias have vowed to wipe out ethnic communities whom they believe are not “real Congolese”.