DRC Fighter Jets Bomb Rebel M23 Targets
Congolese fighter jets are pounding M23 rebels bases in Kitchanga, a strategic town seized last week by the insurgents in North Kivu, Eastern Congo.
Local authorities told ChimpReports that fighting to reclaim Kitchanga started on Monday morning with Congolese forces using heavy artillery.
It’s said several M23 rebels were captured by DRC forces on Monday evening.
This Tuesday morning, DRC forces started using Russian-made Sukhoi-25 fighter jets to bomb M23’s positions.
“The rebels tried to shoot down the fighter jets in vain,” said a local official who preferred anonymity to speak freely.
“The bombardment of the territory has been so intense since Tuesday morning.”
Rwanda, which reportedly backs M23 rebels, last week tried to shoot down a Congolese fighter in vain.
A Sukhoi-25 is a subsonic, all-weather and night capable variant with increased range/endurance and survivability.
Kigali said the jet was flying in Rwandan territory while DRC said its aircraft was in Congolese territory as it descended to land at Goma International Airport.
Tensions between Rwanda and DRC have been rising since the M23 rebels took up arms in 2021 before seizing Bunagana border town.
Kinshasa accused Rwanda of helping the M23 rebels, a claim Kigali denied.
On the other hand, Kigali blamed DRC of arming and fighting alongside FDLR militia which comprises remnants of the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.
The use of warplanes to attack M23 rebels appears to be a game changer for DRC which has been struggling with a weak infantry.
The intense air attacks helped DRC’s ground forces to open several fronts, at Kitobo and Mungote and on the Kilolirwe axis in a bid to reclaim Kitchanga.
The bombing of M23 targets came just hours after DRC President Felix Tshisekedi told diplomats accredited to Congo that “we will defend the integrity of our territory, the sovereignty and independence of our country whatever the cost”.
He added: “Yesterday, today, or tomorrow, no compatriot will agree to cede the slightest centimeter of the national territory to Rwanda.”
The East African Regional Force was recently deployed in Congo to serve as a buffer between DRC forces and M23 rebels who were asked to vacate occupied territories.
M23 rebels handed over several positions including the strategic Rumangabo but did not relinquish Bunagana.
Both DRC and M23 have made counter accusations of flouting regional peace initiatives aimed at finding a political solution to the crisis that has uprooted thousands of lives and displaced many more to Rwanda and Uganda.
The post DRC Fighter Jets Bomb Rebel M23 Targets first appeared on ChimpReports.