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Trapped and Desperate: The Plight of Kanyabayonga Residents

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louis Buyisiwe

Jun 30, 2024

Rwandan-Backed Rebels Seize Key Town in Eastern DRC, Forcing Thousands to Flee

A young Congolese girl carrying mattress after families displaced by Rwanda-M23 fueled wars in East DRC

Rwandan-backed M23 rebels have captured Kanyabayonga, a strategic town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), causing widespread displacement.

The town, crucial for accessing major commercial centers in North Kivu province, now shelters over 60,000 residents and thousands of recent refugees fleeing rebel advances.

Local officials confirmed the takeover, describing a desperate situation for those trapped.

"They no longer have anywhere to go; it is total desolation," said an anonymous source.

The M23 urged residents to stay during a town meeting, promising peace despite ongoing conflict.

Fighting between Congolese forces and rebels has intensified, displacing people from nearby areas like Miriki and Kirumba.

A youth leader from Kayna reported a night of relentless gunfire, while a civil society leader in Kirumba spoke of panic and uncertainty.

The UN Joint Human Rights Office reported increasing civilian displacement and suspended humanitarian aid due to security concerns, leaving the displaced population in dire need.

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