**MONUSCO condemns Military Offensive of M23 in Masisi After Capture of Strategic Town of Kitchanga**
The UN peacekeeping mission, Monusco, has condemned a military escalation of the rebel group, M23, increasing its attacks against Congolese Army positions and taking control of the eastern town of Kitchanga.
Monusco shared through its twitter account late Thursday that 450 people, including women and children, were forced to flee their homes and have evacuated to around the Monusco base in Kitchanga.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission reiterated its call for the M23 to cease its hostilities and to withdraw from the occupied areas in Eastern DRC. The attacks by M23 come amidst tensions between the DRC and Rwanda over the latter’s alleged collaboration with the M23.
Rwanda has denied any involvement, in spite of two UN reports that confirm cooperation. The Congolese Army and M23 rebels inturn accuse Rwanda of collaborating with the rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The M23 was created in 2012 from the National Congress for the Defence of the People, who had already joined the Congolese Army after a peace agreement in 2009, both of which give their group their names. The M23 rebels deserted from the Army to negotiate a better deal.
The eastern DRC has been mired in conflict for two decades, despite the presence of the Monusco mission with 16,000 personnel on the ground. It is yet unclear how this fresh conflict the M23 is fomenting will be resolved.