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Panic In Bambo As M23 Rebels Launch New Attack In Eastern DR Congo

M23 Rebels


Panic In Bambo As M23 Rebels Launch New Attack In Eastern DR Congo

Bambo had previously fallen to the M23 in November 2022, marking a tragic event in the region.

DR Congo–  M23 rebels reportedly launched a new offensive north of the provincial capital, Goma, in eastern DR Congo on Thursday, October 26, as fighting with pro-government armed groups continued further south.

The M23, which has steadily expanded its control over significant portions of North Kivu province since 2021, is one of several militant groups that continue to exert influence in the region, despite the presence of UN peacekeepers.

The violence erupted on the evening of October 25 when mortar fire and rounds of automatic weapons were heard on the southern outskirts of Bambo. By midday on October 26, the town center was under shelling, prompting thousands of terrified residents to flee northward in a desperate attempt to reach government-controlled areas.

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A security source, speaking via telephone, stated, “We are in Bambo, which has just fallen. We are continuing to fight, but there are lots of rebels in the city.” This chaos led to hundreds of soldiers, police officers, and militiamen joining the civilian population in their frantic efforts to escape the ongoing conflict.

Dusabe Ngurikiye, a 37-year-old mother of seven, expressed her uncertainty about the fate of her family, saying, “I don’t know where my husband and seven children are. When the bombs fell on the city, everyone fled in different directions. We don’t know where we’re going now, where are we going to sleep?”

Medical personnel, who were reached by phone, reported seeking shelter in Bambo Hospital as explosions echoed in the background. The situation in the embattled town remains perilous, with residents and those seeking refuge facing an uncertain and perilous future.

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The conflict between the M23 and militias loyal to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has recently intensified in and around Goma, the capital of North Kivu, a city home to over a million people. According to the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA, nearly 200,000 people have been displaced from their homes since October 1 in the Rutshuru and Masisi territories, north of Goma.

In a broader context, independent UN experts, the government of Kinshasa, and several Western nations, including the United States and France, have accused Rwanda of supporting the Tutsi-led M23, although Kigali vehemently denies these allegations.

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Bambo had previously fallen to the M23 in November 2022, marking a tragic event in the region. The nearby village of Kishishe had accused the rebel group of massacring 171 civilians during that period. Afterward, the M23 had withdrawn, maintaining a distance of around 20 kilometers from Bambo.

Further south, fighting that broke out on Tuesday near Kibumba, located roughly 20 kilometers from Goma, continued to rage on Thursday, as reported by civilian and security sources. The situation in eastern DR Congo remains fraught with danger and uncertainty, causing immense suffering to the local population.

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