10 years later, the return of the M23 at the gates of Goma

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It is a date whose anniversary resonates with current events and the ongoing conflict in the east of the DRC. Ten years ago, on November 20, 2012, the M23 (March 23 Movement) took control of Goma. 10 years later, these same rebels are near the city again.

In July 2012, rebels took control of Bunagana and Rutshuru, advancing on Kibumba in less than two weeks. A four-month lull later, hostilities resumed on 15 November. In five days they reached Goma and forced the Congolese army to retreat to Saké while the peacekeepers remained confined to their camps and the airport. At noon on November 20, the military leader of M23, Sultani Makenga, parade through the streets of the city.

At the same time, President Joseph Kabila urges ” the participation of the entire population in the defense of our sovereignty before flying to Kampala where he finds Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame for an International Conference summit on the Great Lakes region. The next day they will ask the M23 to leave the city. But it will take more than a week of negotiations for the withdrawal to materialize.

10 years later, the situation is similar to that of 10 years ago. The M23 is back about twenty kilometers from Goma, where the Kenyan army is deployed this time the Joint East African Force.

► Also read: DRC: in Goma the population is anxious about the vagueness of the fighting

No negotiation, leave! »

And in Kinshasa religious leaders, imams and civil society organizations are mobilizing thousands of faithful, activists and anonymous people against the ” balkanization ” and the ” conspiracy “. They are shouting against the international community and Rwanda, reports our correspondent, Pascal Mulegwa.

No negotiation, leave! “. This slogan rang out on Friday against the M23 during the procession which started near the stadium of the martyrs. The avenue des Huileries was packed with people, the traffic stopped. “ We are ready to go all the way, until Rwanda is seriously condemned and until the M23 leaves its positions and peace returns to the Democratic Republic of Congo “, estimates Danny Banza, of the company.

► Also worth listening to: DRC: “We cannot ask the DRC to dialogue with the M23” insists Martin Fayulu

Christopher Ngoy, also a civil society activist, already opposes the very idea of ​​integrating the rebels into the security forces after the negotiations expected in Nairobi: “ From now on we can no longer do it. They have proven to be insatiable. What they want is to take part of the Congo and balkanize it. Let’s say that all this must stop, because the Congolese people will not back down “.

Nancy, get in line behind her pastor. ” Our cause is just and the nation is sacred. We say no to any form of balkanization, we loudly denounce the complicity of international organizations. Let everyone take care of their nation, the DRC is for the Congolese “.

At the entrance to the municipality of Gombe, the administrative center of the country, the police blocked the advance of the demonstrators. ” We have to keep walking. We have to deliver the message to the ambassadors “Insists one of the protesters. Ultimately, only a select committee was able to submit a memorandum to the UN mission specifically calling for sanctions against Rwanda and which “ the international community hears our voice “, says the pastor Dodo Kamba, patron of the evangelical churches of the Réveil du Congo.

Pastor Dodo Kamba, patron of the Réveil churches in the Congo

diplomatic efforts

And meanwhile, like 10 years ago, the diplomatic negotiations continue under the auspices of the East African Community. According to his facilitator, Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame agreed to help him for the first time “ urge M23 to cease fire and withdraw from captured territories “. Kenyan President William Ruto is even expected in the Congolese capital next week, according to sources in the Kenyan and Congolese presidencies, our envoy reports, Ligodi patient.

The pressure on the M23 is therefore increasing, at least in public communication. The move was also described on Friday as ” illegal armed group in a joint statement signed by the United States, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. These countries also recalled that the M23 is subject to UN sanctions and that ” all external support from armed non-state actors, including the M23, must cease “.

However, the Congolese authorities are cautious. ” We expect to see Paul Kagame complying with what he said to Kenyan President William Ruto “, confided a member of the government.

Kinshasa also intends to continue diplomatic pressure in Djerba, Tunisia, where the prime minister represents Felix Tshisekedi at the 18th Francophonie summit. The DRC intends to take advantage of its position in the organization to ask, once again, Rwanda to stop supporting the M23.

For his part, the French president spoke on the matter during a meeting with the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda. On the sidelines of the Francophonie summit, he said: ” We need the withdrawal of forces, the stabilization of African forces under a UN mandate and an inclusive political process that needs to be launched as soon as possible so that all parties concerned can emerge from this moment of tension. “.

Emmanuel Macron, French president

The UN Security Council also comes into play. His delegates met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday.

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