There is uncertainty about the state of the conflict in regions east of the DRC, although the M23 rebels have agreed to a ceasefire.
UN intelligence analysts have detected suspicious activities by M23 rebels in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from which they plan to withdraw, internal UN documents National shows.
There are also indications that the armed group has captured land in other areas, amid uncertainty about the exact state of the conflict in the Kibumba area, from which the rebels intend to leave since then. from 23 December as part of a ceasefire brokered by East African leaders. .
“Their complete withdrawal from the area is yet to be confirmed,” the Joint Mission Analysis Center (JMAC), a United Nations intelligence unit, wrote in a confidential report about the time period. from December 26 to January 3, and seen by Reuters on Thursday.
“Suspicious movements of the M23 are still seen in the area,” it added.
The report also highlights examples of M23s brutally seizing new territory elsewhere even after they participated in the handover ceremony of Kibumba to East African Community (EAC) forces in what they call was a gesture of goodwill under the ceasefire.
“Several clashes involving the M23 were reported during the week, resulting in the M23 gaining control of further areas, notably threatening Kitchanga, Mweso, Sake, Kilorirwe, Mushaki and Nyalimima, co. raised serious concerns about PoC (Protect Civilians).”
On Wednesday, M23 denied reports it had not left Kibumba, saying it had withdrawn from its positions there since December 23. It added that it was committed to complying with the agreement. agreement reached by regional leaders in November to withdraw the M23 from recently occupied positions and allow thousands of displaced people to return to their homes.
At least 450,000 people were displaced last year in a fresh offensive by the Tutsi-led rebel group, which the DRC government, the european union and a group of UN experts supported by neighboring Rwanda.
The M23 has conquered much of the territory east of the DRC since it launched its latest offensive in late 2021.
Rwanda denies any involvement in the resurgence of the M23, but the allegations have led to a serious diplomatic crisis in the region.
Earlier this week, a spokesman for the EAC force told Reuters the withdrawal had taken effect but said “some non-combat administrative elements from the M23 on the outskirts of Kibumba are in the final stages of withdrawal.” .
Last Friday, presidential spokeswoman Tina Salama told Reuters that President Felix Tshisekedi remained committed to the truce.
“We all know them [the M23 rebels] did not withdraw completely,” she said, adding that the team technically has until January 15 to withdraw in full. “There will be a re-evaluation at that point.”
The M23 is also meant to have withdrawn from the strategic military town of Rumangabo on Thursday this week. However, on Wednesday, the EAC postponed the planned handover ceremony, saying it was still assessing the security situation.