The Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing a new crisis as rebels from the M23 group advance toward the key city of Goma. Hundreds are fleeing towards Goma to escape the rebel group, which has largely caused hundreds of thousands of civilians to be displaced throughout North Kivu province.
The United Nations and other international organizations have become deeply concerned with the advancing rebels and their effects on the civilians in the area.
The M23 Rebellion
The M23 rebellion began in 2012 when former members of the National Congress for People’s Defense (CNDP) went rogue and formed their own militia. After being defeated by Congolese forces in 2013, many members fled to neighboring countries Rwanda and Uganda where they regrouped and reorganized.
This past March, they announced a new offensive against government forces, leading to thousands of civilians being forcibly displaced or killed during clashes between the two sides. This recent advancement into Goma is causing significant panic among residents who fear for their lives if caught between opposing sides.
In response to this crisis, several international organizations have stepped up efforts to protect citizens from harm’s way. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), World Food Programme (WFP), International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and other humanitarian aid groups are providing support for those affected by displacement or violence due to these advancing rebels. Additionally, many African nations have united together in an effort to find a peaceful solution that would allow both parties to reach an agreement without any further destruction or displacement occurring.
“We won't allow our territories to be under Foreign forces like @eacrf_DRC we will take back our territories that are being controlled by @M23_ARC”
-FARDC’s Chief of Ops Maj Gen Chico Tshitambwe
The war won't end anytime soon, Kinshasa doesn't believe in any Peace deal. pic.twitter.com/pVhoHuPAOy
— Robert Cyubahiro McKenna (@RobCyubahiro) February 23, 2023
According to BBC.com:
M23 rebels appear to have launched an offensive in North Kivu province in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
They're attacking five villages outside the town of Mweso, which lies on the province's main highway.
Local media say the offensive followed the arrival of Rwandan reinforcements.
Kigali, however, denies that it's supporting the rebels. M23 controls territory inside Congo, but its advance towards Goma, the provincial capital, has slowed in recent days.