Official: Congolese warplanes bomb M23 rebel targets

GOMA, Congo (AP) – Congolese warplanes began bombing rebel targets in the country’s east Tuesday, escalating the fight against the M23 group that the government says has been advancing with help from neighboring Rwanda.

Jean Claude Bambaze, president of Rutshuru’s civil society, told The Associated Press that airstrikes were reported in the villages of Chanzu and Musungati, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Rutshuru.

“We see Congolese warplanes coming and going,” he said. “We call on the Congolese government to quickly end this M23 affair, because people have already left their homes and others are imprisoned in camps without humanitarian aid.”

There was no immediate confirmation or comment from the Congolese military on the reported airstrikes. However, M23 spokesman Lawrence Kanyuka accused the army of attacking densely populated areas and “trampling on the call for dialogue”.

“This warmongering option is counterproductive and puts the lives of many citizens in areas under our control at extreme risk and worsens the humanitarian situation in the region,” Kanyuka said in a statement.

Neighboring Rwanda has long denied providing support to the M23, which re-emerged a year ago after being inactive for a decade. The rebel group has advanced rapidly in recent weeks, doubling the territory it controls.

In a show of force, the Congolese army began training some 3,000 new recruits on Monday in Goma.


Maliro reported from Beni, Congo.

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