After 20 months of shelling, occupation, and displacement, the M23 rebel group announced today that it is ending its insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The announcement comes after months of negotiations in Kampala between M23 and the Congolese government, where little progress was made towards agreeing on terms to end the conflict. Last week, after the talks broke down completely, the government recaptured the M23 stronghold town of Bunagana, and in the following days it steadily pushed M23 from each of its remaining centers of power.
On Friday morning, the sound of mortar shells could be heard from Mugunga III displaced camp in eastern Congo. For the 160,000 displaced persons living in the Mugunga camps, it carried with it a new threat that comes all too soon after last year’s siege of the nearby town of Goma.
A few minutes ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved the creation of an “intervention brigade” within the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
The resolution passed despite a good deal of skepticism on the part of many Council members, and it’s unclear whether the Council is prepared for the potential humanitarian fallout.
If you live in a Western country, you might find it a bit strange – even anachronistic – to devote an entire day to honoring women. Many of my friends here in Washington, DC, feel that all the major battles facing women have already been won.
Life in a displaced persons camp is not easy. Even for the strongest of the strong, surviving in an insecure and inhospitable camp is both physically and emotionally grueling. But for the elderly, disabled, or ill, the demands of camp life can seem insurmountable.
These individuals – especially those without family members to support them – are often the most vulnerable, and their needs are often overlooked.
This week, an RI team will depart for North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where more than 500,000 people have been displaced by fighting since April. The mission comes shortly after the fall of the provincial capital of Goma, and with 130,000 people now displaced in Goma and its environs, there could not be a more important time to visit the region.
The recent surge of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, culminating in the fall of the provincial capital of Goma to members of the M23 rebel group, is first and foremost a human tragedy. Though M23 has now withdrawn from the city and agreed to peace talks, 130,000 people remain displaced, with many forced to flee from camp to camp in search of safety.
At 4:00am on Saturday, the rebel group known as M23 attacked the town of Kibumba in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Equipped with new night vision goggles and 120mm mortars, the rebels quickly overwhelmed the Congolese army (FARDC) and United Nations peacekeeping forces defending the town, which sits just outside the provincial capital of Goma.