As fighters of the M23 rebel group pulls out of the Congolese city of Goma, regional leaders headed by the Ugandan president have been trying to stave off further military action that could lead to a new war engulfing countries in the region.
History appears to be repeating itself in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On November 15, the M23 rebel movement, with – according to the UN – the backing of Rwanda’s armed forces, broke the 25 July de facto ceasefire observed with the Congolese army, the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), and launched an offensive against Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
The latest fighting between government forces and M23 rebels has followed a familiar script, spawning a humanitarian crisis and a flurry of shuttle diplomacy. The M23 is a group of former rebels who were integrated into the army under a March 23, 2009 peace deal. The rebels say it has not been honoured by the government, leading them to mutiny in April this year.
Since that mutiny led by Bosco Ntaganda and the subsequent creation of the 23 March rebel movement (M23), violence has returned to the Kivus. However today’s crisis bears the same hallmarks as yesterday’s, a consequence of the failure to implement the 2008 framework for resolution of the conflict, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).