DRC: M23 heading to Kinshasa

Nov 21st, 2012 at 16:09 | By | Category: News

Today, Wednesday 21st of November, fighting between Congolese army and M23 takes a new direction as M23 calls State soldiers and Police officer to join the movement and “liberate” the country. While the M23 captures Sake, the movement is progressing towards Kinshasa.

M23 on a police vehicle in Goma - source: RFI

M23 on a police vehicle in Goma - source: RFI

“The objective of M23 is  to  take power from President Kabila”  stated Colonel Jean-Paul Epenge, M23 Spokesperson in Europe in a debate on France24.

On Saturday the 17th of November turbulence arose in the Eastern DRC as M23 invaded the Congolese city Kibuma that is about 30 km from Goma. By Tuesday 20th of November, M23 captured the city with just little effort as FARDC soldiers did not oppose while UN troops stood and watched the rebels taking control of the area.

The situation has strengthened the rebel movement as members of Congolese army and police officers surrendered their arms to join them. “We have no other option than joining the M23” declared some of the new recruits to Reuteurs.

The violence started in the early morning of November 15th, when M23 troops are said to have attacked FARDC positions in the east of Kibumba, breaking an undocumented ceasefire that had been sustained for the past three months. The M23 however, accused Congolese authorities of being the first to attack.

UN reaction

Sources say that the emerging danger of war has been partly incited by the US and UN’s sanctions against the head of the M23, Sultani Makenga, the closing of the Uganda-Congo border of Bunagana and the timing of the final report of the UN confirming the support of Rwanda and Uganda to the rebel groups in eastern DRC.

“The Security Council demanded in a resolution (2076) the immediate withdrawal of the armed group M23 from the major eastern Congolese city of Goma and the cessation of any further advances, calling for a clarification of reports of external support provided to the group and stating its readiness to act on the basis of information received” reads the resolution. This has clearly been ignored by the movement as several declarations and evidence confirm  the armed group is moving towards Kinshasa.

In addition, the Council requested the Secretary-General to report on options for possible redeployments, in consultation with all partners, of MONUSCO personnel and materiel within the current authorized ceiling in order to better protect civilians and report on flows of arms across the borders of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

. As negotiations continue to fail and M23 gains territory and manpower, a great number of the citizens of Goma and the surroundings continue to flee the approaching turmoil.

HRW: “US Should Urge Rwanda to End M23 Support”

“The US government’s silence on Rwandan military support to the M23 rebels can no longer be justified given the overwhelming evidence of Rwanda’s role and the imminent threat to civilians around Goma,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “The US government should support urgent sanctions against Rwandan officials who are backing M23 fighters responsible for serious abuses.”

Jane Nishimwe


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