Wary hope for DRCongo village as M23 rebels quit base

The M23 rebel group gave back a key military base in eastern DRCongo on Friday, the latest move in its pledge to retreat from conquered territories after months of advancing toward Goma.

Local residents gave a cautious welcome to the handover ceremony near Rumangabo, the Congolese army’s largest base in the region, just 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the capital.

“We’re happy because God has freed us from this open-air prison,” said Nyiramwiza, 35, carrying a baby on her back.

“It was a nightmare. We were even scared to go the field just to get water.”

Taken over by the Tutsi-led M23 two months ago, Rumangabo was silent and already overgrown with vegetation that made it feel abandoned, according to AFP journalists allowed to cover the handover.

It was overseen by Kenyan forces deployed by the East African Community (EAC), and followed a similar handover last month at a base in Kibumba, around 20 kilometres to the south.

But even after promising to pull back its positions, M23 forces have gained ground elsewhere, raising doubts about the future of the year-long conflict.

“EAC forces will continue to coordinate M23’s systematic retreat and asks other armed groups to put down their weapons,” said General Emmanuel Kaputa Kasenga, deputy commander of the East African contingent.

– ‘Living in prison’ –

Imani Nzenze, described as an M23 colonel, told attendees that the rebels, who captured Goma in 2012 before being driven out the following year, had no plans to “conquer territory.”

But he made no secret of the group’s intention to retaliate if attacked by the DRCongo army or its allies.

“The rebels are leaving but they are still in other areas,” said Innocent Bwenge, 38, adding that his village home near Rumangabo was ransacked during the base’s occupation.

Another woman, 65-year-old Semahane, said her children had been trapped in Goma since the start of the fighting.

“We’ve had no peace because the road is blocked. It’s like living in prison,” she said.

Abandoned homes with smashed front doors were strewn along the highway leading from Rumangabo to Goma, an area that saw fierce fighting in November.

No cars were seen on the road partially blocked by a destroyed army tank.

M23, whose name stands for “the March 23 Movement,” again took up its weapons against the government in late 2021, accusing Kinshasa of failing to respect promises to reintegrate the rebels into the army.

After M23 announced its withdrawal from Kibumba last month, the Congolese army slammed the move as a sham designed to distract as the group reinforced its positions elsewhere.

Since then, clashes between the M23, Congolese troops and rival militias have continued.

Do you love solving puzzles?

Join our community and solve the Puzzling fun with our range of crosswords

image of various puzzles image of background wavy graphic

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.

Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.

Daily Politics

This is Daily Politics. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Full Episodes

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.



Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.


Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.


Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula


Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.


This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.


This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.