Rebel Attacks in Eastern Congo

For the past five months, a newly formed rebel group in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been attacking government forces and seizing small towns, and it just took control of the city of Goma a week ago. The movement, called the March 23 Movement (M23), is made up of former members of previous rebel groups and is largely a continuation of hostilities in the region that date back to the First Congo War in 1996. Amid a complicated web of proxy battles, political posturing, defections, and re-defections, M23 rebel forces (purportedly supported by Rwanda) have fought fierce battles against DR Congo government troops and local Mai-Mai militias, sending civilians fleeing for shelter. UN peacekeeping forces in the region have not resisted the advances of the rebels, claiming their duty is to protect civilians, not to act as a substitute national army. Several hundred rebels, soldiers, and civilians have reportedly been killed, and many more wounded, so far. At the moment, M23 refuses to leave Goma and has a stated intention of overthrowing the national government.

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