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GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 13 (Reuters) – M23 rebels within the Democratic Republic of Congo have captured the japanese border city of Bunagana, insurgent teams and native activists stated Monday, sending greater than 30,000 civilians fleeing to neighboring Uganda.

The Congolese military in an announcement says Rwandan troops have occupied the town. Congo has repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting M23, whose management comes from the identical Tutsi ethnicity as Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The military and the Rwandan authorities didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Rwanda had beforehand refused to play any position within the latest M23 assault. learn extra

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Bunagana’s arrest marked a significant setback for Congolese forces who stated the day earlier than that they’d rebels.

The United Nations and the African Union have sounded alarm about elevated violence in areas the place conflicts within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s claimed thousands and thousands of lives, largely from illness and hunger, and left dozens of militias lively to this present day.

Bunagana was an M23 stronghold throughout the 2012 rebellion that briefly swept by means of the primary metropolis of Goma earlier than Congolese and UN forces chased the rebels to Rwanda and Uganda the next yr. learn extra

North Kivu’s army governor’s workplace on Sunday stated Congolese forces had “routed” the M23 after an assault close to Bunagana, which is among the principal crossings into Uganda. learn extra

However M23 issued an announcement on Monday stating they managed the town. Two native activists asserted that it had fallen to the rebels, whereas the military stated that it had fallen to Rwanda.

“Our troops have been accountable for Bunagana city because the morning of Monday, June 13,” M23 spokesman Willy Ngoma stated in an announcement.

He says that taking the town was not their purpose however they determined to do it after a steady assault by the Congolese military and allied teams.

“We ask as soon as once more for President Felix Tshisekedi to grab this chance to finish the violence attributable to this ineffective battle and open direct negotiations with our motion,” the M23 assertion stated.

A authorities spokesman couldn’t be instantly reached for remark. The Congolese authorities ended negotiations with the M23 that had been held in Kenya in April.

‘SITUATION OF DESPAIR’

The preventing resulted in additional than 30,000 Congolese asylum seekers and 137 Congolese troopers crossing into Uganda on Monday, Shaffiq Sekandi, Uganda’s resident district commissioner for the Kisoro district, instructed Reuters.

“They’re all, full streets, who do not go to church, they’re underneath bushes, in all places. It is a very determined state of affairs,” he stated.

The UN beforehand stated that 25,000 individuals fled the violence on Sunday.

A spokesman for UN Secretary -Basic Antonio Guterres stated that he was involved about safety breaches in japanese Congo, together with the M23 assault. The area has seen shut battle since Rwanda and Uganda attacked twice within the Nineteen Nineties.

African Union Fee chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat referred to as for a direct finish to hostilities and talks between Congo and Rwanda to resolve the rising diplomatic disaster.

Basic Sylvain Ekenge, a spokesman for the North Kivu army authorities, said that the elimination of Bunagana was an “invasion” by Rwanda that will produce penalties.

Tensions have risen between neighbors previously week, with allegations of assaults on either side. learn extra

When Rwanda refused to help M23, it accused Congo of working with one other militia group, the FDLR, based by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after collaborating within the 1994 genocide. Congo denied these allegations.

Through the 2012-2013 battle, Congolese and UN investigators accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, which they denied.

On Monday, two senior Congolese safety sources, who requested to not be named, additionally accused the Ugandan army of supporting the M23 assault.

A Ugandan military spokesman, Brigadier Felix Kulayigye, declined to be concerned. “We’re solely seeing what’s occurring from throughout the border and we’ve been in that place for months,” he stated.

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Reporting by Djaffar Sabiti in Goma and Stanis Bujakera in Kinshasa; Extra reporting by Erikas Mwisi Kambale in Beni and Elias Biryabarema in Kampala; Written by Sofia Christensen and Nellie Peyton; Edited by Aaron Ross, Alison Williams and David Evans

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