M23

M23 is a testimony to the fact that in some regions of the world, conflict resolution is stagnant. Nicknamed M23, the movement is a group of soldiers from a former rebel army that signed a peace deal on March 23rd, 2009 with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s government. Last spring, however, “hundreds of them mutinied, claiming that the government had failed to meet their demands under the 2009 agreement,” reports this article. The largest grievances that M23 had were that the Congolese government did not pay them fairly, and that they had discriminated against the army for its large Tutsi population. Thus the M23 rebel movement was revived, and it has been recently on the move and escalating. Most recently the rebels have been gaining ground while moving into the city of Goma, with claims of larger assaults on cities such as the capital Kinshasa to come. Just this morning they have set the conditions for the withdrawal from Goma, which include the release of political prisoners and the disarmament of Congolese troops. These demands are not expected to be met.

As expected, defusing the M23 movement has steadily become an international issue. The United Nations is playing a role in the DRC, and has set up peacekeepers in hostile areas, (though it is reported that they can do little to stop interior violence, a recurring limitation that many human rights activists have come to detest). In addition, the eastern neighboring nations of, “Uganda and Rwanda are named in a report by the U.N. Group of Experts as key backers of the M23 rebels,” supposedly to follow through on their own interests in the region. Both nations have denied these accusations, and have pointed out that they have wrongly been cited as assisting rebel movements before.

Where is the M23 movement to end? Clearly the Congolese government does not have the capacity to readily stop the rebellious army. Unfortunately, this story is already decreasing in media popularity, minimizing the awareness of the conflict. What must be kept in mind is that this loss in media coverage does not equate to any lesser level of violence in the DRC. There have been no solutions to the clash, even if we are hearing less about it. And conflict resolution, especially through international intervention, only occurs when there is an international audience. Without this audience, chances that the conflict will wrap up soon diminish greatly.

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  1. Pingback: The UN plans action in Central Africa | The World on Safari

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