DR CONGO – SITUATION ARCHIVE
JANUARY 31, 2014
The security and humanitarian situation in eastern Congo improved following the surrender of the M23 rebels in November 2013; however, many rebel groups remain and there is now a resurgence of violence.
The Congolese Army worked side by side with the UN MONUSCO peacekeeping force’s new Force Intervention Brigade to successfully push the M23 rebels out of the Congo and across the border into neighbouring Uganda, where they remain neutralized – although M23 is reportedly already regrouping. Regional reaction | M23 denial
Rebel groups are moving in to fill the power vacuums left by M23’s surrender. Mai Mai Checka—one of the most brutal rebel groups operating in eastern Congo—recently attacked the village of Pinga. Farther south near the country’s mining capital, Lubumbashi, local ‘mai mai’ (village defence) groups have burned more than 60 villages and are creating a “humanitarian catastrophe” as they continue the long-standing fight for the secession and independence of Katanga Province. ICRC press release | Doctors without Borders report
According to UN Refugee Agency statistics, three million Congolese citizens are today either internally displaced in the DRC or refugees in neighbouring countries.
In early 2012, the Tutsi-led M23 rebel group emerged. Its success in taking control of territory (and its suppport from Rwanda) led to the signing of a new UN-sponsored peace agreement on Feb 24 2013 as a multi-nation political commitment to put an end the ongoing conflict.
M23 is now split into two rival factions. One faction says it will sign a peace agreement with the DRC Government but keeps pushing the deadline. Meanwhile, UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon is leading the call for a new 4,000 person armed force that, unlike the MONUSCO peacekeepers, would take the offensive against the myriad of rebel groups in eastern Congo.
Today, more than a dozen armed militias operate in the eastern Congo…and fighting is escalating. Rebel groups (and Congo Army soldiers) are responsible for rape, massacres and killings, forced recruitment, pillaging, and extortion. To escape the violence, hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled their homes and are now more than two million Congolese internally displaced in their own country or are refugees in neighbouring countries.