At this high-level meeting of the 55 member states of the regional organization, African leaders called last weekend for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of armed groups from areas currently occupied in the DRC by March 30.
A Congolese security source confirmed that in the last hours in the locality of Kitshanga, northwest of the city of Goma, there were heavy armed clashes between the military forces and the insurgency.
The M-23 group, led by leaders of the Tutsi ethnic group and controlling swathes of North Kivu and Ituri provinces, resumed its attacks in eastern DRC in November 2021, after claiming that the DRC government failed to deliver on its promise to integrate its fighters into the national army.
According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner’s Office, recent attacks by irregular armed groups in Ituri resulted in the destruction of some 1,800 residences and the displacement of 50,000 residents.
Meanwhile, in North Kivu some 21,000 people fled their homes to safe places, according to the report.
Kinshasa, which counts on the support of UN and other countries’ peacekeeping forces in this territory, denounced that the M-23 insurgents have the support of Rwanda that denies such allegation in the middle of a heated bilateral diplomatic crisis.