Sources within M23 Congolese rebels inform AfroAmerica Network that the Congolese rebels reinforced by Rwandan Defense Forces(RDF) are advancing on Masisi and Lubero territories.
According to the sources, the troops advancing on Lubero are under the command of General Sikuli Lafontaine and Colonel Kahasha. Colonel Kahasha defected from the Congolese Army FARDC and left his position in Beni with a unit composed of close to between 100- 300 soldiers on January 25, 2012 (see our article: CNDP Quits FARDC as Joseph Kabila Asks Paul Kagame to Arrest General Ntaganda). He spent a few weeks with General Lafontaine in Southern Lubero, before joining the M23 command posts in Rutshuru. For the last month he has been staying in the Rutshuru area while his troops were being trained by Rwandan Defense Forces special forces.
Meanwhile, an advanced commando of Rwandan Defense Forces and M23 joined the Mai-Mai Raia-Mutomboki in Walikale and briefly seized the city of Walikale last week (see our article M23 and Allies Reach Walikale; Progress Towards Kisangani; FARDC General Ruhorimbere to Defect of July 17, 2012. FARDC troops reinforced by MONUSCO forces eventually retook the city of Walikale pushing the Rai-Mutomboki southward into South-Kivu. By seizing Walikale, the advanced commando of Rwandan Defense Forces and M23 and the Raia Mutomboki had two objectives: to test the road to Kisangani and to draw FARDC troops from the Masisi area in preparation of the major offensive underway.
The sources added that on the Northern front, General Lafontaine and Colonel Kahasha will link up with General Ruhorimbere and the troops of Mbusa Nyamwisi further North, closer to DRC-Uganda border.
In their push towards Masisi, the M23 rebels and Rwandan Defense Forces attacked, on Tuesday July 24, 2012, the towns of Kibumba, North Kivu and conquered the towns of Rugari, Bisoke, Ngiko, Kakoro. By Tuesday night, they had reached the town of Kanzenze and Kingi on the road towards Masisi center.
According to other sources in the area, M23 and Rwandan Defense Forces have surrounded FARDC troops in the towns of Rumangabo where an important FARDC military base in located.
The M23 and FARDC rebels have unsuccessfully tried to overtake the military base but appear to have decided to leave it for now. As we write the story, heavy gunfire was being heard by our sources.
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