The conflict raging in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has already displaced nearly half a million people. On Wednesday February 7, fighting around the town of Sake, considered strategic, caused the death of dozens of people and forced many residents to flee their villages. “It started at 3 a.m., then at 5 a.m. we heard bombs,” says a resident of the town of Sake on TV5 monde. Some have chosen to head south, while thousands of others are crowding into camps in Goma. Update on the situation.
Who are the M23 rebels?
The M23 rebels come from the Tutsi ethnic minority living in Congo. They take their name from a peace agreement signed on March 23, 2009 between the Congolese government and a pro-Tutsi militia. The group was formed three years later, on May 6, 2012, after a mutiny by Tutsi soldiers integrated into the Congolese army. They criticized the Congolese government for marginalizing them and not respecting the terms of the peace agreement.
How did the conflict between the M23 and the army begin?
The well-armed M23 rebels first seized the North Kivu province in 2012, before taking the city of Goma at the end of 2013. The Congolese army then regained control of the city, then dissolved the movement . The disarmed rebels were then placed in camps in Uganda.
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Why did the fighting resume in 2022?
After 10 years of dormancy, the M23 rebels attacked the Congolese army again in 2022. The rebels accuse the DRC of not having kept its commitments to reintegrate them into the army and allow them to return to the land they claim. Since then, fighting has raged between the two camps.
What are the objectives of the M23?
The DRC accuses Rwanda of being behind the rebirth of the M23 group. Fact “corroborated by experts from the UN, the United States and other Western countries, although Kigali denies it,” notes TV5 World. Minerals such as gold, coltan or tin, present in eastern Congo could be at the origins of the conflict, while Rwanda has few natural resources on its soil. Lawrence Kanyuka, the political spokesperson for the M23 declared on February 14, 2023 that he wanted “a direct dialogue with the government”, without specifying the exact demands. “We cannot put the cart before the horse”, he said. then estimated.
VIDEO – M23 conflict in eastern DR Congo: intensification of fighting, several deaths near Goma