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M23 Rebels Infighting Leaves Tens of Dead; Rwandan Rebels Fight M23 Rebels

Sources within Congolese M23 Rebels tell AfroAmerica Network that infighting between General Sultani Makenga’s and General Bosco Ntaganda’s factions have left tens of dead, mostly M23 rebel troops. Several injured rebels are being treated in hospital in Rutshuru.

The infighting follows a failed assassination attempt on General Sultani Makenga by gunmen believed to be from General Bosco Ntaganda’s faction (see our article “M23 General Sultani Makenga Escapes Assassination Attempt” of February 23, 2013)

Heavy fightings erupted between the two factions in the Rutshuru area starting Sunday February 24, 2013 and were still ongoing on Monday February 25, 2013. Hospital workers in Rutshuru contacted by AfroAmerica Network confirmed that bodies of tens of dead M23 soldiers were laying in the Rutshuru hospital and many more injured were being treated there.

While the M23 factions were fighting among themselves, Rwandan rebels based in the DRC attacked M23 rebels’ positions in the area surrounding the North-Kivu provincial capital of Goma. The Rwandan rebels managed to seize the M23 positions in Rugari and Katale and occupied the road between the two towns. They also captured a large quantity of heavy and light weapons and ammunitions from M23 rebels.
M23 rebels contacted by AfroAmerica Network confirmed that Rwandan rebels now control the axis between Goma and Rutshuru.
Already, General Bosco Ntaganda’s faction is accusing General Sultani Makenga of beeing allied with Rwandan rebels, whereas General Sultani Makenga’s men accuse Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) of reinforcing General Ntaganda.
By allying himself with FDLR and other Rwandan rebels, General Sultani Makenga has become our enemy,” a M23 soldier with General Ntaganda’s faction confided to AfroAmerica Network.

There is one thousand Rwandan troops already around Goma. General Bosco Ntaganda and his Rwandan criminals must go back to their country. We do not want them here (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo),” a M23 commander with General Makenga’s faction told AfroAmerica Network.

The infightings come as the negotiations in Kampala between the DRC government the M23 rebels have faltered and after the signature of an Accord in Addis-Abbeba among the countries of the region, the United Nations and the African Union. Already, most of the Non Government Organizations (NGO) working on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have dismissed the Accord as not going to the root of the issue (see here). The NGOs argue that the accord does not go far enough and is instead another bureaucratic maneuver, similar to a multitude seen for decades when it comes to resolving the crisis in the DRC. The NGOs call for the appointment of a UN Special Envoy to manage the process, with the help from special envoys to be appointed by the United States and the European Union.

The position of the NGOs regarding the UN Special Envoy is consistent with the agreement signed in Rome in February 2009 between the DRC Government and leaders of Rwandan rebels of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), a coalition between Rally for Unity and Democracy (RUD-Urunana) and Rally for the Rwandan People (RPR-Inkeragutabara) with facilitation the Rome based Catholic organization Sant’ Egidio Community and the Norwegian organization SIK (see Rwandan Opposition Group Expresses Its Position on the Crisis in Eastern Congo (DRC) here).
In that accord, both the DRC Government and the Rwandan rebels requested that “the UN Secretary General appoint a Special Representative for Rwandan Refugees in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

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