Fighting erupted Sunday, October 1, in eastern DR Congo’s North Kivu province pitting the country’s armed forces (FARDC) against the M23 rebel group. In statements, the two warring parties, which had been observing a fragile ceasefire since November 2022, accused each other of starting the fire exchange on Sunday afternoon in Kilolirwe and other areas in Masisi territory in spite of calls by regional leaders to end the conflict peacefully. ALSO READ: UN considering funding EAC mission in DR Congo The spokesperson of North Kivu Governor’s office, Lt Gen Guillaume Ndjike, accused the rebels of seeking to reoccupy positions they earlier vacated as part of the ceasefire. But M23 spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka said that, with the attack, the Congolese government “initiated its warmongering plan” declared by President Felix Tshisekedi in his speech at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September in which he ruled out any possibility of peace talks with the rebels. M23 scapegoat ALSO READ: What to expect from Félix Tshisekedi at the United Nations General Assembly “The M23 condemned President Tshisekedi’s decision to engage in war after many calls worldwide for a peaceful settlement of the ongoing conflict,” Kanyuka said, adding that the Congolese government was using the rebel group as a scapegoat “to cover up its failure.” ALSO READ: UN troops in DR Congo ‘set to be withdrawn’ Congolese officials earlier warned of a renewed offensive against the rebels. Reports say the Congolese army acquired new military equipment in preparation for the offensive, as renewed mobilisation continued in North Kivu. ALSO READ: M23 warns of ‘imminent genocide’ in DR Congo The M23 rebel group resurfaced in November 2021, nearly a decade after its defeat in 2013. The group, which denounced the persecution of Congolese Tutsi communities at the hands of genocidal militias like the FDLR, accuses Kinshasa of ignoring successive peace agreements. ALSO READ: M23 rebels withdraw from Rumangabo military base The Nairobi and Luanda peace processes, which have been in place since last year, support a non-military resolution of the conflict. In December 2022, the M23 rebels embarked on a gradual withdrawal from their positions, handing over control to the East African Community regional force (EACRF). The rebels accuse the DR Congo government of ignoring calls by the international community for a peaceful end to the conflict.