Crowd in DR Congo lynches army officer mistaken for M23 rebel

In eastern DR Congo, a soldier has been lynched on suspicion of being an M23 rebel, according to various sources, marking the latest episode of violence in the conflict-ridden region.

The Congolese army announced on Saturday that Colonel Patrick Rutasura Gasore had passed away on Thursday evening in the city of Goma, providing no additional details.

Nevertheless, multiple sources reported that residents in the colonel’s neighborhood in Goma had lynched him, mistakenly believing he was an M23 fighter.

The Tutsi-led M23, purportedly supported by Rwanda, has seized extensive areas of territory in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since initiating an offensive in late 2021.

A stretch of several months marked by tranquility was disrupted last month when renewed fighting broke out between the M23 on one side and Congolese soldiers and pro-state militias on the other.

Two individuals informed media that on Thursday evening, residents in Colonel Gasore’s neighborhood started throwing stones at him after he left his house.

“They were saying he was an M23,” said one of the residents, who went on to mention that the colonel later passed away.

Erick Sematungo Rutegeranya, a relative of Gasore, urged for “justice” to be served against those responsible for the colonel’s killing.

Gasore belonged to the Banyamulenge, a Tutsi community native to South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Eastern DRC has been marred by militias for decades, a lasting consequence of the regional conflicts that intensified during the 1990s and 2000s.

Multiple Western nations, including the United States and France, have asserted that Rwanda supports the M23. However, Kigali denies these allegations.

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