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North Kivu: Today, Wednesday 25th January 2023 Fighting In Kitshanga and Bwito Areas.

Robert Patrick Fati Gakwerere

The fighting resumed this Wednesday, morning, 25th January 2023 between the FARDC and RDF-M23 on the one hand and between the RDF-M23 and the Mai-Mai, on the other hand. The fighting are happening on two frontlines in the territories of Masisi and Rutshuru, North Kivu, DR Congo.

In the Kitshanga region of Masisi

Intense fighting took place in the morning in Kitshanga area, 2 kilometers from the city precisely in Rugarama. RDF-M23 tried to take the town of Kitshanga, a large town in Masisi, more than 80 kilometers west of Goma, without succeeding. They encountered resistance from the FARDC.

But RDF-M23 managed to occupy Kitshanga-Goma road, from Rugarama, 2 kilometers from Kitshanga. They are also positioned in Rushebeshe, 10 kilometers on the Masisi-Kitshanga road. By this Wednesday evening, the situation remains tense and there is suspension of traffic on the Masisi-Kitshanga axis since this morning due to intense fighting taking place.

After RDF-M23 cutting traffic this morning in Rushebeshe, the clashes moved towards Monastere, Kabale-Kasha, Burungu and Tebero.

A large part of the population are taking refugee in front of the MONUSCO base, while others have left since Tuesday, 24 January to Mwesso and elsewhere.

On the Bwito axis (Rutshuru)

On the side of Bwito, all sources on the ground affirm that RDF-M23 have re-occupied since this Wednesday morning, areas of Bambo and Kishishe; whereas, the day before, RDF-M23 had been dislodged from these two areas by the FARDC and the Mai-Mai militias.

Significance of Kitshanga

The Kitshanga region, where these clashes are taking place, is one of the important areas of Masisi.

During CNDP rebellion in 2009, Kitchanga town was the headquarter of rebel leader Laurent Nkunda and his National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), but it is also a major center for social and economic exchanges between several entities, as it links the Goma-Masisi – Walikale.

In addition, the city of Goma is now cut off from the far north, because this Masisi road was the only remaining supply route between Goma – Rutshuru – Butembo and Beni. But now, RDF – M23, has cut this key trade route.

Today, Wednesday, 25th January 2023, several passenger vehicles were forced to make U-turns on both sides. This situation greatly worries the population of Goma, which risks being asphyxiated, according to the governor of North Kivu.

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