, GOMA, DR Congo, May 22 – The Democratic Republic of Congo has sent commandos to reinforce army units battling renegade soldiers in the eastern Nord-Kivu region’s remote jungle, an army officer told AFP Monday.
“We have reinforced the ranks of the FARDC (regular army) with new units in order to chase the mutineers from their positions” in the Rutshuru area, near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda, the colonel said.
“The two newly-arrived battalions are mostly commandos. Within the next two days, we will launch an offensive to recapture all positions held by the mutineers,” he said.
Fresh clashes erupted over the weekend between the army and a group of mutineers known as the March 23 movement in Nord-Kivu, near a park which is home to most of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas.
The mutineers are former rebels who were integrated into the army under a 2009 peace deal — after which the group is named — but started to defect en masse, complaining of poor treatment.
Kinshasa accuses former rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court for enlisting child soldiers, of leading the mutiny. The fugitive general denies the allegation.