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According to local media in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the M23 rebel group has officially seized another town in the eastern part of the country.

The M23 militia group has taken control of Kirumba, a key town in the North Kivu province, further expanding their territorial gains in an ongoing offensive that began in 2021. This seizure marks another significant step in their campaign, which the government claims is backed by Rwanda—a claim Rwanda denies. Video posted on social media showed locals welcoming the rebels, who have been accused of atrocities in the DRC.

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Kirumba, a major commercial hub with over 120,000 residents, is the largest town in southern Lubero territory. According to a local official, the city fell to the rebels on Saturday. According to the official, there was a significant presence, with rebels arriving on foot, motorcycles, and heavy vehicles. The official claimed that the group was set to be moving north and was seeking to takeover Butembo, Beni, and eventually Kinshasa.

M23’s recent captures also include the strategic town of Kanyabayonga, which serves as a gateway to Butembo and Beni, strongholds of the Nande tribe and critical commercial centers. The fall of Kanyabayonga has displaced tens of thousands, with some fleeing to nearby areas for safety.

President Felix Tshisekedi addressed the escalating crisis during a defense council meeting and his Independence Day speech, vowing that the government was committed to protecting the country’s territorial integrity.


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