The M23 rebel movement, active in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has confirmed the detention of several dozen Burundian soldiers captured on the battlefield while fighting alongside Congolese government forces (FARDC) .
M23 political spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka confirmed on Tuesday that several dozen Burundian soldiers had been captured by their movement. According to his statement, the captured Burundian soldiers were trying to break through the M23 defenses and were fighting alongside the Congolese army. However, the exact number of Burundian soldiers captured was not specified.
At the beginning of last month, the M23 had already accused a Burundian contingent of supporting the DRC in the region, particularly in the villages of Mushaki, Karubam Kitchanga and Mwesso. These accusations are accompanied by reports of violence against the Tutsi community and the use of DRC military uniforms by Burundian soldiers.
As a reminder, the DRC and Burundi signed a Defense agreement in August. According to the Burundian president, Evariste Ndayishimiye, “the agreement is an agreement for mutual assistance in the defense system (…). Whether in training, in border patrols. Besides, we were doing it before the intervention of the regional force”.
Kigali and Kinshasa, two disgruntled neighbors
The situation in eastern DRC has intensified to such an extent that Rwandan President Paul Kagame was forced to mention the deterioration of the security situation in his meetings with the American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. He called for a de-escalation of hostilities and a political resolution to the conflict.
Meanwhile, the DRC government continues to accuse Rwandan forces of entering its border area and supporting M23 rebels in eastern DRC, accusations that Kigali categorically rejects.