Goma Under Fire

As the M23 rebels advance on Goma, the UN struggles to prevent violence in the DRC from spreading.

By: /
20 November, 2012
By: Claire Schachter
Deputy Editor of OpenCanada.org

Another deadly chapter in the conflict in the Democratic Republic Congo is unfolding. The M23, a rebel force composed on soldiers who defected from the national army with shady ties to political and military leaders in Rwanda, aims to seize the capital city of Goma. Currently, fighting continues as the DRC government refuses to acquiesce to rebel demands. 

The United Nations Secretary General has released a statement condemning the resumption of hostilities, and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague has also expressed “deep concern” at the worsening violence.

The International Crisis Group released a report in October on the destabilization of the always-fragile situation in the DRC. That report is getting renewed attention now, as the costs of having failing to manage the crisis are now undeniable.

The violence threatens to spread across the borders of the DRC. Rwanda has accused U.N. backed Congolese forces of shelling a town on the Rwanda-DRC border, although a recent statement from the Rwandan foreign minister may help to defuse tensions:

“Rwanda does not intend to respond to provocation coming from the DRC…Issues in (eastern Democratic Republic of Congo) are too serious to be subjected to game playing.”

All of this will raise the usual questions about why the UN, the African Union, and the DRC, individually and collectively, have proven unable to avert the major humanitarian crises that grip this region with devastating regularity.

We hope that this latest round of violence provokes a renewed commitment to the search for answers.

Photo courtesy of Reuters

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