[ View the story "Rebuilding eastern DR Congo" on Storify] Rebuilding eastern DR Congo Is the recent defeat of M23 rebels a turning point for the region?
The Stream· Mon, Nov 04 2013 10:05:08
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been called the
since World War II, with more than five million dead, and millions more affected by starvation, disease and sexual violence. Although a ceasefire signed in 2003 officially ended warfare among nine African nations, the eastern region of the Congo has since become a haven for armed rebel groups. The latest threat to political stability, the M23 rebel group appears to be on the
after a 20-month rebellion, thanks to a UN-backed defeat by the Congolese army (FARDC).
After FARDC entered the last remaining rebel stronghold, Bunagana, DRC President Joseph Kabila
M23 fighters to "demobilise voluntarily", or else the army would "make them do so by force". On Sunday, M23 leader
urged fighters to "immediately end hostilities" with government troops.
Order immediate cessation of hostilities.
Named after the 23 March 2009 peace accord, which they accuse the government of violating, the
number approximately 1,000 soldiers and are mostly from the minority Tutsi ethnic group. M23 claims that they rebelled against the army in April 2012 because they were mistreated and not paid properly. But according to the Congolese government, the mutiny began when Kabila said he would arrest ex-M23 leader
and hand him over to the International Criminal Court. Ntaganda is currently at the Hague awaiting trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict from 2002-2003.
According to a 2012 UN report, Ugandan and Rwandan military officials have
weapons, ammunition and recruits to the rebels. Rwanda has repeatedly
its army into neighboring Congo in order to hunt down Hutus who fled from Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. Both Rwanda and Uganda deny allegations that they have aided M23.
@AJStream Rwanda&Uganda have negative roles which created a chain of wars and instability in DRC.More of tribal(Tutsi)&looting rolesArnold Kapend
I've never trusted Kagame. Bloody murderer. He's the reason DR Congo is in its current state plus M7Fred Kennedy
Support @PaulKagame on DRC issue now. Issue on conflict now coming to light. We should not watch as Kabila used as a pawn to get to Kagame.Anto
One explanation for the M23's recent military
is the lack of assistance from Rwanda. US Secretary of state John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague both separately telephoned President Kagame last Friday, urging Rwanda to stay out of the conflict. Jason Stearns, author of Congo Siasa blog, wrote the absence of support from Rwanda to be the determining factor in M23's demise:
"The Rwandans just wouldn't pick up their phone calls," one source close to the M23 leadership told me. This is a drastic change from August, when many sources––the UN, Human Rights Watch, and foreign diplomats––all reported hefty support coming across the border.congosiasa.blogspot.com
Another contributing factor was the heavy hand the UN mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) played in backing FARDC. While the Congolese army did a bulk of the fighting, UN officers were issuing rations, jointly planning operations and providing intelligence, reconnaissance and logistical help.
MONUSCO mission chief Martin Kobler tweeted progress of the joint FARDC-UN attack on rebel-controlled areas.
Just back from kiwanja. People really feel liberated. #MONUSCO and #FARDC are holding the townMartin Kobler
m23 cessation of hostilities good first step. declaration end of rebellion must follow. the war must end. nofiring at civilians in bunaganaMartin Kobler
However some netizens were skeptical that M23's defeat was final.
@jasonkstearns @moniquebeadle Wish I believed it was. Why wont Rw shelter m23 leaders wait it out then quietly reinstitute pol/econ control?David Aronson
@ajstream That shouldn't even be thought of, just because of the offensive it does not mean that the #M23 have been defeated. #EasternDRCAlex ML
Many Congolese netizens praised the efforts of their army.
But with FARDC's capture of M23 territory, some reports claim Congolese soldiers began
the town of Bungana.
It's weird. There was looting in Bunagana, by the #FARDC, but so far, the silence of @MONUSCO and @SrsgKobler is deafening!Olivier Nduhungirehe
FARDC soldiers have a history of improper conduct. Last November, FARDC soldiers
girls—some as young as 6—who were feeling from M23 rebels.
@albcontact @kongoecho @MONUSCO The 'defeat' of the M23 may expose the FARDC in a more negative way un seen before.Mukizawabo.
What is the number of #FARDC casualties so far? How many lives has #Kabila sacrificed so far to get the congratulations for lost battles?Albert Rudatsimburwa
@FARDC13 As we condemn all the violence of #M23 bandits, our heroes #FARDC shouldnt comit violence to certain ethnic group #weallcongoleseAlain Miruho
In light of the recent ceasefire, many disagreed whether M23 members should be granted amnesty or punished.
@ajstream fight rebels, fight corruption and impunity. take all rebel leaders to court and judge them severely. Take It's reponsabilities!Arsene Tungali
@AJStream #DRCongo. The insurgents r congolese. They have sisters and brothers in refugee camps in the neighbourhood. Drc is mother land.Didier
@ajstream I dn't think granting the #DRCongo insurgents amnesty will go down well with the locals who lost their families & relatives.Alex ML
Some netizens feared that an end to the single rebel group M23 did not mean an end to all violence in the DRC.
Besides #M23 #FARDC open war,seems2be a cold war btn Tutsi&Hutu ethinic groups,if nothing is done2avert it a very nasty thing might happen.Ignatius Bahizi
so.. the country is liberated after defeating 1 out of 50 armed groups? #M23, #DRCkatabarwa robert