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DRC: Two Years of M23 Rebellion

The M23 rebellion took up arms again in November 2021 in the province of North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has seized vast swathes of territory. Here are the highlights of the last two years.


. 7/11: Armed men attack DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) positions in Rutshuru territory, not far from the Rwandan and Ugandan borders. The army blames the M23 (“March 23 Movement”), a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion that was defeated in 2013.


. 26/1 – Some thirty Congolese soldiers are killed near Virunga Park.

. 29/3 – Eight peacekeepers die when their helicopter crashes over a combat zone.

. 23-28/4 – With the mediation of the East African Community (EAC) and its “facilitator” Uhuru Kenyatta, consultations are organized in Nairobi between the DRC authorities and armed groups. On the first day, the army accused the M23 of attacking it. The M23 was expelled from the talks.

. 13/6 – The M23 seizes Bunagana, a border post between the DRC and Uganda.

. 20/6 – East African leaders agree to set up a regional force. Comprising Kenyan, Burundian, Ugandan and South Sudanese contingents, it will begin deployment in November 2022.

. 6/7 – A ceasefire is agreed at a summit between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, under the auspices of Angolan Head of State Joao Lourenço. It will not be respected.

. 4/8 – A UN expert report asserts that the Rwandan army intervened in eastern DRC directly in support of the M23. Kigali disputes this.

. 9/8 – The United States says it is “concerned” by this information. Rwandan support for the M23 is subsequently condemned by several chancelleries.

. 9/21 – At the UN, the President of the DRC accuses Rwanda of armed “aggression”.

. 29/10 – Kinshasa expels Rwandan ambassador to DRC.

. 3/11 – Félix Tshisekedi calls on his country’s “youth” to “organize themselves into vigilance groups” and “enroll massively” in the army.

. 23/11 – A mini-summit in Luanda calls for a cessation of hostilities, followed by the withdrawal of the M23 rebels “from occupied zones” and their “withdrawal to their original positions”. If the rebels refuse, the East African force will force them to do so. However, Kinshasa is now criticizing the force for having rather cohabited with the rebels.

. 11/29 – The M23 is accused of massacring civilians in the town of Kishishe.

. End 2022 – Former European soldiers, split between two companies, arrive in Goma. Presented as “instructors”, they number around a thousand and are integrated into the FARDC’s strategy against the M23.


. 3/3 – Angolan mediation announces a new ceasefire for March 7. Sporadic clashes continue, in particular between the M23 and so-called “patriot” armed groups (wazalendo), but overall it will hold until early October.

. 30/5 – Congolese army spokesman claims that the Rwandan army and M23 rebel movements are aiming to attack Goma.

. 23/10 – As fierce fighting resumes in North Kivu, Kinshasa claims to have drone images showing a new incursion by Rwandan troops into the DRC.

. 3/11 – Monusco and FARDC announce “Springbok” operation to prevent M23 from taking Goma.

Source : Africa News