DRC: More civilians flee advance of ruthless M23 rebels in North Kivu

© Goma Actif

The sudden resurgence and advance of the M23 rebel group have spread panic amongst the people of North Kivu, a province in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At least 50,000 people fled their homes between October 20 and November 1, according to a statement by the United Nations. Displaced civilians, primarily women and children, have been gathering in makeshift camps on the outskirts of Goma. Our Observers say there is a desperate need for more humanitarian assistance.

On October 20, the March 23 Movement (M23), a rebel group largely made up of people from the Tutsi ethnic group, launched an offensive against the Congolese army and captured a large swathe of territory in Rutshuru, including the towns of Rutshuru Centre and Kiwanja.

“Both towns had been harbouring many of the 186,000 displaced people who had fled resurgent fighting between M23 and Congolese forces over the past few months, reported Human Rights Watch.

'Most of these people are fleeing for the second time'

Many families are on the run again, says our Observer Emilien (not his real name), who is based in Goma, the capital of the province of North Kivu:

Most of the people who we’ve met come from Rubare and Rutshuru. They told us that they heard shots and left when they saw their neighbors fleeing.

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