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FARDC Troops Take Control of Kibumba from M23 Rebels; Belgian Paratroopers to Support FARDC

Rwandan Defense Forces in DRC

Rwandan Defense Forces in DRC

On Friday October 25, 2013, FARDC, the national army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has taken control of the center of the strategic town of Kibumba from the Rwandan Government backed M23 rebels. The FARDC pushed the M23 rebels out of the town in the early afternoon, after intense fightings and bombardment, that resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. The M23 rebels, supported by Rwandan Defense Forces, withdrew to the outskirts of the town, where sources said they were reorganizing since Friday night, after receiving reinforcements in troops and ammunitions from Rwanda. The troops from Rwanda entered the area from the forests spanning the border between Rwanda and the DRC and Kabuhanga, a Rwandan border town. As of early Saturday, Rwandan troops were seen by sources in Kabuhanga, carrying heavy weapons and crossing the border. The fightings have led to massive displacements of civilian populations.

Meanwhile, the Belgian Government has officially authorized the deployment of paratroopers from a Brigade specialized in counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare. According to sources within the DRC government, an advanced team of Belgian military officers has already arrived in Congo, and has been training FARDC troops, in an undisclosed locations, close to the North-Kivu, where the M23 rebels and FARDC are facing off.

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