Congo Escalation

Rwandan-backed M23 rebels took control on Nov. 20 of Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Amnesty International called on all sides of the escalating conflict to take steps to safeguard civilians. Thousands fled the besieged city and rapes have been reported as rebels promised to advance on Bukavu and ultimately Kinshasa, determined to depose Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila. A missionary source in Goma reports, “The population feels betrayed and abandoned by the government” and the U.N. mission forces. U.N. forces did not intervene after government troops fled or turned over their weapons to the rebels. The humanitarian and security situation has deteriorated dramatically since fighting between M23 and the Congolese army resumed on Nov. 15. Since the M23 was created in April 2012, Amnesty International has documented numerous human rights abuses attributed to its fighters, including unlawful killings, forced recruitment of children and young adults and rape.

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