M23 rebels, who are fighting the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have captured the Congolese army’s defensive positions in Kibumba.
Various sources, including the UN peacekeeping mission, said yesterday Kibumba Town was reportedly under the control of the M23 rebel movement and some refugees who had fled to Rwanda had already started crossing back to their country.
Most of these refugees are Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese who fled their homes early last week.
Kibumba Town is about 25 kilometers north of Provincial capital Goma, and it is the battlefield from where stray bullets injured three residents of Rubavu District as fighting resumed on Tuesday this week.
“We have been told that it is now safe to return home and there is no reason for me not to go since even some of my relatives have already gone,” Eliphaz Ngabo, a refugee, told The Sunday Times yesterday.
Rwandan Immigration authorities estimated that over 1,000 refugees had crossed back home by press time.
The recent fighting marks the end of a ceasefire that was held for several months as talks were pursued in Kampala, Uganda.
During a field visit yesterday in Bugeshi Sector, Western Province, Governor Celestin Kabahizi warned refugees and residents against loitering at the border since it is unsafe due to landing bullets and their fragments.
Rwanda on Thursday urged the Congolese army and the rebel force M23 to cease renewed hostilities and respect the peace resolutions tabled by the region through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)