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DRC on high alert as M23 takes aim at Goma

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Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province in the DRC, is on high alert as the M23 rebels advance. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

DRC on high alert as M23 takes aim at Goma    

There is grave concern that an escalation of the attacks by M23 rebels in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could lead to further instability in the Great Lakes region.

Although several individual members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) expressed their concern at the deteriorating security situation in the North Kivu province of the DRC yesterday, the PAP fell short of outright condemning the attacks by M23.

The PAP convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday for a high-level dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance in Africa under the theme “Unconstitutional changes in Government and Political Transitions in Africa.”

Several independent peace and security experts have stated in the past that M23 is backed and supported by some the DRC’s nine neighbouring countries.

AU concerned about attacks (DRC on high alert as M23 takes aim at Goma)

On Sunday, Macky Sall, the current Chair of the African Union and President of Senegal and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed their extreme concern at the deteriorating security situation in Eastern provinces in the DRC.

In recent weeks a revived M23, established in 1998, has taken strategic positions, forcing the retreat of the Congolese army and MONUSCO, the United Nations’ (UN) peacekeeping mission in Congo.

According to security experts the group has the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu, in their sight, as they did in 2012 when they took control the North Kivu capital. M23 withdrew from Goma in early December 2012 after they suffered severe losses in the forest north of Goma.

In their Sunday statement Sall and Mahamet called on all the parties to establish an immediate ceasefire, respect international law, the safety and security of civilians and the stability at the borders of all countries in the region.

“We urge all stakeholders to engage in a constructive dialogue within the existing mechanism of the African Union’s Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region, and the East African Community’s (EAC) Inter-Congolese peace dialogue. In this regard, we call all the parties to participate in good faith in the third Inter-Congolese peace dialogue in Nairobi from 4th to 13th November 2022,” they said.

Sall and Mahamet further expressed their full support to the Luanda Roadmap aimed at normalising the political relations between
the DRC and Rwanda stressing that the initiatives by the AU, EAC and ICGLR are complementary and mutually reinforcing.

M23 marches on (DRC on high alert as M23 takes aim at Goma)

Last week, M23 tightened its grip on several territories by seizing the towns of Kiwanja and Rutshuru, cutting North Kivu’s capital Goma off from the upper half of the province. Fears of a return to open warfare was palpable as protesters in Goma on Monday denounced the alleged role of Rwanda in supporting the M23 rebels, while Kinshasa recalled its interim acting ambassador from Kigali, further souring relations between the DRC and Rwanda.

DRC on high alert as M23 takes aim at Goma    N

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