DRC accuses Rwanda again of backing the M23 insurgency

DRC accuses Rwanda again of backing the M23 insurgency

Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are blighted by ethnic and religious massacres – alongside the intrigues of outside nations that seek to exploit the resources of this nation. Hence, once more, the political elites in the DRC are blaming Rwanda for supporting the M23 insurgency that is growing in potency.

Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière, the Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said the UN was “concerned over the deteriorating security situation…and the increase of attacks against civilians by the Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) and the M23 as well as the on-going presence of other foreign armed groups, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Red Tabara and the Forces Démocratique pour la libération de Rwanda (FDLR), which continue to pose a threat to regional stability.”

DRC government officials are especially alarmed by the growing M23 insurgency. Large swathes of North Kivu are now under the sway of M23 – including the town of Bunagana. This town runs along the border of Uganda.

AFP reports, “M23, a mostly Congolese Tutsi group, resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, accusing the government of having failed to honor an agreement over the demobilization of its fighters.”

Patrick Muyaya, a spokesperson for the government of the DRC, said, “A massive arrival of elements of the Rwandan element to support the M232 terrorists” was witnessed by authorities.

MONUSCO, the United Nations mission, condemned “the hostile acts of M23.”

Rwanda rebukes the DRC for allegedly supporting the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The DRC denies all ties to this Hutu movement. Therefore, the legacy of Hutu and Tutsi tension persists in parts of the DRC in eastern regions.

M23 military advances are continuing. Voice of America reports, “The M23 rebels seized more territory in the vast, mineral-rich DRC on Saturday, prompting the U.N. peacekeeping mission to increase its “troop alert level” and boost support for the army.”

ADF Islamist group was created in Uganda – while the M23 is linked to Rwanda. This highlight the regional dimensions of the crisis facing the DRC. In total, over 120 different militias exist in this part of the country concerning internal and external forces.

The United States Department of the Treasury said, “More than 90 percent of DRC gold is smuggled to regional states, including Uganda and Rwanda, where it is then often refined and exported to international markets, particularly the UAE. In eastern DRC, where there are approximately 130 active armed groups, the gold trade is a major driver of conflict. A network of armed groups, smugglers, and companies generates illicit revenue from the gold industry through forced labor, smuggling, or by extorting payments from miners. These actors use revenue from gold to finance armed conflict and enrich themselves while depriving the DRC of tax revenue and disregarding the environment and local communities.”

The DRC is blighted by rampant poverty, countless health concerns, ethnic massacres, religious massacres, the exploitation of natural resources – and the intrigues of outside nations. Hence, nations – and international companies – abusing the natural resources of the DRC need to be condemned and face serious consequences.

If M23 forces continue to take more swathes of eastern areas of the DRC, then this might trigger a wider conflict.

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