Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in a conflict linked to the M23 rebels. The international community, faced with this fact, is silent as hell. The instability allows the illicit traffic of minerals to Rwanda. The resolution of this conflict could come from the intervention of the international community, and from awareness on the part of the Congolese authorities to restore order in the north of the country.
1-The M23, a source of tension between the DRC and Rwanda
At the end of the first half of 2022, the Congolese army and the M23 rebels clashed again. Attacks took place in the North Kivu regions in particular. These attacks are causing significant population displacement. According to the French-language media outlet TV5 Monde, 75,000 people have been internally displaced and 11,000 have taken refuge in Uganda as a result of these attacks by the M23 movement since November 2021. The March 23 movement (M23) has been active since 2012. Recently, however, the group’s actions have been linked to Rwandan authorities.
In a statement, the Congolese authorities accuse. According to them, “M23 terrorists supported by the artillery and military of the Rwandan army” are attacking their positions. Kigali, for its part, denies any support for the rebel movement. The Rwandans claim that this is an “intra-Congolese conflict. The M23 has caused great tension between the two countries.
These tensions are likely to escalate. Congolese and rebel armies are fighting each other against a backdrop of renewed tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Denis Mukwege, a famous Congolese doctor, tweeted on June 16: “The deployment in the East/DRC of a regional force made up of countries at the root of destabilization, atrocities and the plundering of our resources will bring neither stability nor peace and risks aggravating the situation! The reform of the #FARDC #PNC #ANR is necessary!“
According to regional specialist Pierre Boisselet reported by TV5 Monde, Rwanda has allegedly supported several other rebellions, not just the M23. Rebellions like the RCD-Goma (the Congolese Rally for Democracy) and the CNDP (the National Congress for the Defense of the People).
2-Instability allows illicit mineral trafficking
The real issue for Kigali, according to Thierry Vircoulon, is to keep control of North Kivu, a large neighboring territory that the Rwandans have been exploiting for years. They take advantage of the mining and wood smuggling.
Rwanda is taking advantage of the insecurity to get its hands on Congo’s mineral resources, according to several analysts.
Journalist Alain Foka, who recently visited the regions concerned, says, “The major capitals have always looked the other way in the face of Kigali’s aggressions, and there is no question of condemning the victim of the 1994 genocide, whose trauma is still vivid“.
The Rwandan civil war (or Rwandan genocide) was a period of ethnic violence that took place in Rwanda from April 7 to July 4, 1994. The war began following the deaths of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the president of Burundi. Does the West feel morally indebted to the Rwandan people?
3-To get out of it…
If this crisis persists, the important humanitarian risk may evolve into a humanitarian and economic risk. This is true for Rwanda and the Congo. In order to get out of it, it is important that the Congolese authorities repair the differences that foreign adversaries are taking advantage of. The international community must also wake up to the humanitarian drama that is underway.