M23 Rebels Capture Key Town in East DR Congo

Rwandan-backed M23 rebels have seized Kanyabayonga, a strategic town in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province, in a move that sees them gain more ground from the country’s authorities. Home to over 60,000 residents and tens of thousands of displaced persons, Kanyabayonga is strategic in that it is a key route to commercial hubs Butembo and Beni in the north. Even worse, it is the fourth territory in the Kivu province the rebels have entered after Rutshuru, Nyiragongo and Masisi. Given their unchecked advance in the region, residents now find themselves trapped with nowhere to go. After they took the town, M23 spokesperson Willy Ngoma held a meeting urging residents to stay. Despite the group’s promise of peace, the situation remains dire with many fearing further rebel advances. Congo’s President, Felix Tshisekedi, has since held a meeting of the defense council in what one can only assume is a bid to halt the rebels’ march.


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