AFRICA/DR CONGO - New demonstrations in Goma as M23 rebels advance

Monday, 6 February 2023 armed groups   un  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Also today, February 6th, protests broke out again in Goma, capital of North Kivu (eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo), Barricades in the streets, where demonstrations that began on February 3 continue (see Fides, 3/2/2023) to ask the Regional Force of the Community of West African Member States to take action to stop the advance of the M23 rebels.
The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), meanwhile, mourns the death of a South African soldier and the wounding of a second soldier in the attack on the helicopter in which the two soldiers were flying from Beni to Goma yesterday, February 5th when it was hit by gunfire.
The day before, the heads of state of the East African Community (EAC) met in Bujumbura on February 4 (see Fides, 3/2/2023) convened by the President of Burundi to address the serious situation in eastern DRC that also risks provoking a conflict between Rwanda (accused by the Congolese of providing direct military support to M23) and DRC. The summit, attended by the presidents of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi, ended by calling for an "immediate ceasefire by all parties" and the withdrawal of all armed groups, "including foreigners," from the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Also on February 4, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordination Unit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (OCHA) said tens of thousands of people were “trapped in the clutches of armed violence” as the rebels advanced.
The rebels have already taken several places, including Kitshanga, a town of around 60,000 people, and Kirolirwe, leaving several thousand people fleeing in recent days. Clashes are currently being reported in Kalake and Tuonane, a few kilometers north of Goma. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/2/2023)