In Pictures: Witnessing M23 withdrawal

Al-Jazeera - 

Karuba, Democratic Republic of Congo - Scores of M23 rebels assembled in the hillside town of Kubaro on Wednesday, in what was  described as the first phase of a major withdrawal from territory seized over the past two months in the eastern DR Congo.


Fighters, strapped with semi-automatics, RPGs and the occasional anti-aircraft machine gun, congregated at the centre of the town, as they awaited further instructions from M23’s military command.

Addressing curious townsfolk who had gathered, General Vianey Kazarama, M23 military spokesperson, said the withdrawal came about after President Kabila agreed to engage directly with the group.

“From tonight, our soldiers will not be controlling this area. “The soldiers who are in Karuba must go to Sake, and those in Ngungi, Humule, Muremure and Mushake must also go Sake,” he said.

According to the M23, its fighters would also be out of Goma by Friday. But questions remain over the details of the Goma withdrawal, and there is still doubt over the willingness of the rebels to relinquish its hold over the important provincial capital.

Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Rebels in and around the surrounding hills were instructed to travel to Karuba as the pullout began.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Residents gathered at vantage points to catch a glimpse of the rebels.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
The fighters descended with a range of weaponry slung across their back.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Rebels waited mostly in silence for their comrades to arrive.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Like many rebel groups in the region, youthful fighters are part of M23 ranks
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
M23 rebels walked with unmistakable bravado through the town.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Children scampered around, enjoying the attention showered the remote town.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Some 500 rebel fighters assembled prior to the withdrawal from the town.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Residents said they were used to the cycle of violence in the area.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Though willing to pose, the rebel fighters were under strict instructions not to talk to journalists.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Eastern DRC remains as insecure as it has been for the best part two decades.
Azad Essa/Al Jazeera
Curiously looking on, some residents were unsure if the withdrawal.

 

Posted in: Al Jazeera, DRC

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