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Instability Returns to Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

Jessamy Nichols, Africa Correspondent
Last Modified: 23:09 p.m. DST, 03 September 2013

Congo Refugee, Photo by Steve Evans

Congo Refugee, Photo by Steve Evans

DRC, Africa – Widespread fighting and instability are nothing new to the eastern side of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as it has been plagued by conflict ever since the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 spilled over into its borders.

The region, especially the area around Goma, have struggled to find peace since this crisis, and even the current issues can be traced back to this period.

The newest fighting is being caused by a rebel group, called the M23, who have been protesting the national government since April of 2012. The group is made up of members who were formally part of the Congolese national army, but mutinied to display their disapproval and disappointment with the national government that is led by President Joseph Kabila.

Since then, the group has made periodic attacks on civilians and government military forces, and in its most recent offensive, caused civilian casualties, widespread population displacement, and danger to UN peacekeeping forces (MONUSCO).

MONUSCO has practiced peacekeeping without force for over a decade now, but the M23’s recent actions have prompted a military response from the UN troops. With their new mandate, certain UN peacekeepers are allowed to fire first and use necessary offensive actions in order to force M23 rebels to back down and put down their arms.

This moved was deemed necessary as the rebels have been given several options over the last few months to meet their requests, yet they continually return to violence. They have failed to follow up with peace talks and ignored demands to put down their weapons.

Beyond M23’s responsibility for the chaos in Eastern Congo, the DRC’s national government and neighboring country, Rwanda, also play a huge role in implementing peace. They have been involved in the fighting and tensions since the beginning, and thus they must make it their priority to finding a lasting solution before peace can be found.  Otherwise, once UN troops back off, the violence will eventually resume.

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About Jessamy Nichols

Jessamy Nichols is our Africa Correspondent and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with majors in Global Studies and Political Science, and a minor in African Studies. She has traveled throughout East Africa and is beginning her career in the international affairs realm after recently moving to Washington, DC. Her interests include global human rights issues, international conflict resolution, African politics, regional instability, and multilateral institution behavior.

View all posts by Jessamy Nichols

3 Comments on “Instability Returns to Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo”

  1. Jessamy Nichols Says:

    Interesting update on the UN’s first-ever offensive peacekeeping force. Normally, UN peacekeeping troops are not allowed to use force unless attacked first, so this is unique. Syria will obviously gain most of the news focus in the next few weeks, but the DRC story will continue to be important to watch.

    http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/5/un-tests-combat-brigadeindemocraticrepublicofcongo.html

    Reply

  2. OyiaBrown Says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Reply

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