DRC conflict: M23 rebels to withdraw soldiers from Rumagambo by January 5

Major General Jeff Nyagah

East African Community Regional Force (EACRF)'s Commander Major General Jeff Nyagah (left) during a meeting that confirmed M23's withdrawal from Kibumba on December 31, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

M23 armed group shall withdraw its soldiers from Rumagambo, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by Thursday next week and later on from Kishishe, the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) has announced.

This comes following their successful withdrawal from Kibumba last week.
In a statement, EACRF's Commander Major General Jeff Nyagah said the withdrawal shall be systematic and coordinated by the rebel group after which EACRF will take over the vacated locations.

The statement follows a meeting by Major General Nyagah, the Ad hoc Verification Mechanism and the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism at Kibumba on Saturday.
Kibumba has now been taken over by EACRF forces in compliance with the Luanda communique of November 23, 2022.

The move gave way to the return of displaced persons and the opening of supply routes for humanitarian assistance.

M23 rebels

M23 rebels look on in Kibumba in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on December 23, 2022. 

Photo credit: Glody Murhabazi| AFP

Major General Nyagah has called on all parties to the conflict in Eastern DRC to immediately observe the cease-fire call outlined in the Luanda communique and end attacks targeted at civilians whom he said continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict.

He added that an independent probe into the killings that occurred in Kishishe early this month in what was termed as a reprisal killing between the M23 and rival armed groups will bring those culpable to account.
At the same time, he asked those who fled Kishishe following the killings to return to their homes after the withdrawal of the rebel group to give witness accounts of the incident.

“The local leadership must take the lead in the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in areas vacated by M23 and subsequently occupied by EACRF and I appeal to humanitarian agencies to enhance aid to the affected. Vandalism and looting of property belonging to the people of Eastern DRC by any party must be brought to an immediate stop," the general said in the statement.

A statement by the UN said Kishishe victims were arbitrarily executed with bullets or bladed weapons.
Today's meeting happened two days after EACRF's top command briefed President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa on the overall security situation in Eastern DRC, the force's ongoing operations and its future plans.

“The M23 has committed to fully comply with the Luanda communique on total withdrawal from areas under their control to the designated areas and further to the East Africa Community Chiefs of Defence Forces’ decision of Dec 18, 2022 in Dar es Salaam," the statement added.