DR Congo army accuses the M23 rebels killing 50 civilians

The armed forces say the rebel group also violated a five-day-old ceasefire in the east of the country.

The armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have accused the rebel group M23 and its allies of killing 50 civilians in the eastern town of Kishishe.

The army said in a statement on Thursday that the massacre took place on Tuesday as it also accused the rebels of violating a five-day-old ceasefire in the east of the country.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the resumption of fighting last month between the armed forces and the M23, which is conducting its heaviest offensive in eastern DRC since 2012.

General Sylvain Ekenge told the AFP news agency that M23 was “carrying out massacres… the most recent of which is that of 50 Congolese civilians, who were brutally murdered on Tuesday in Kishishe”, a village some 70 km (40 miles) ) north of the eastern city of Goma.

He claimed that DRC forces had maintained the ceasefire, but the rebels had attacked government positions.

M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa told Reuters news agency the group would respond to the allegations in a statement later.

A primarily Congolese Tutsi group, the M23 first jumped to prominence in 2012 by briefly conquering the city of Goma. After a peace agreement in 2013, many M23 fighters were integrated into the army.

The group resumed fighting in late 2021, saying, among other things, that the DRC had failed to honor a promise to integrate its fighters into the army.

The United Nations and the international rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) said they were aware of the killings in Kishishe in North Kivu province, but could not provide details or information on the number of fatalities.

The DRC has accused neighboring Rwanda of supporting M23, a charge Kigali has denied.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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