Rwanda Defence Force Denies Involvement in M23 Rebel Activities

Rwanda Defence Force Denies Involvement in M23 Rebel Activities

KIGALI, Nov. 9, 2021-- Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) has denied allegations that it involved itself in supporting the activities of the March 23 Movement (M23) rebel attacks on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's northeastern border region with Uganda, RDF said in a statement on Tuesday.

It has been reported that an armed group believed to be ex-M23 rebels, on Sunday evening crossed into DRC from Ugandan territory where it is based, and attacked and occupied the villages of Tshanzu and Runyoni, said the statement.

The Rwanda Defence Force is neither involved in nor supports any activities of the ex-M23 armed group, it added.

The ex-M23 group in question did not seek refuge in Rwanda during their retreat from DRC in 2013, but has been based in Uganda, from where this attack originated, and to where the armed group retreated, said the statement.

RDF emphasized that any reports, in the media or by officials in the region, that the ex-M23 armed group originated from or retreated to Rwanda, is propaganda aimed at undermining the good relations between Rwanda and DRC.

The M23 attacked the military positions of Chanzu and Runyonyi, in North Kivu province near the border with Uganda and Rwanda, according to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).

The latest attack came amid mounting violence in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where armed groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been active.

Several villages in the area are now empty as their inhabitants, including women and children, have crossed the border into Uganda for fear of the rebels' advance in the region.

The M23 is a group of former rebels of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP). The name came from the March 23, 2009, agreement between the CNDP and the Congolese government, which M23 leaders claimed had not been respected by the government.