Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) – Strong clashes occurred this morning, June 22, in Beni in the province of North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to information sent to Agenzia Fides, the clashes between the regular members of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) and a rebel group began at dawn with the use of light and heavy weapons on both sides.
A communiqué on June 21 sent to Agenzia Fides, by CEPADHO, a local NGO for the protection of human rights, reported the training of a new armed group, called Mouvement National des Révolutionnaires (MNR) in the area. The new formation brings together men from previous armed groups active in North Kivu (Mai Mai, M23, ADF, FDLR) and hundreds of prisoners who escaped from Butembo Prison on June 11. This is most likely the group that is attacking Beni in these hours.
According to CEPADHO, MNR has already attacked at least three villages in the area between Butembo and Beni, and is about to strike these two cities.
"Considering the impressive logistical capabilities of this rebel coalition, many are convinced that they have external support that must be dismantled", says the note.
North Kivu has been plagued by local and foreign armed groups (Rwandans, Ugandans, Burundians) for decades and have illegally exploited the huge resources of its territory (coltan, cassiterite, gold, timber). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/6/2017)