When understanding overcomes violence, encouraging insights emerge that invite us to resolve disagreements in the strategic region of the African Great Lakes…
Julio Marcelo Morejón Tartabull Exclusive 01/19/2023
the guerrilla Movement of March 23 (M23) promised to continue his orderly withdrawal from the areas he controlled in eastern DRC (DRC)an important decision for sub-regional detente.
The armed group met with former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediator, over the dispute this Congolese and dealt with aspects of the current conflict in the Congolese East.
This conflict ended in 2022 with hundreds of civilians and thousands displaced, and is considered a backup that can be reactivated at any time if funding issues are not resolved, and with reach for all of the Great Lakes.
Kenyatta, met with rebel representatives in the Kenyan city of Mombasa, who promised to strictly adhere to the current ceasefire in addition to an organized withdrawal.
“They also agreed to continue to respect and work with the East African Regional Force, which has begun to take control of the areas from which the M23 has just withdrawn,” the former president said of the outcome of dialogue.
This stance by the insurgents fits into a delicate geopolitical picture in which the deteriorating border security of the DRC and a spiral of serious diplomatic disputes with Rwanda are evident.
Congolese authorities have accused Rwandans of supporting the M23, which Kigali has denied, while denouncing links between the DRC’s military and the decadent Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, which Kinshasa denies.
It’s part of the bilateral debate that erupted in 2013 when the insurgency — mainly composed of Tutsi — was defeated but gained strength in 2021 after demanding that the government live up to its commitments and demobilize its guerrillas.
Now: “As a pledge of goodwill to work towards an agreement in North Kivu, the M23 leadership has agreed to continue their orderly withdrawal and to abide by a strict ceasefire,” Uhuru Kenyatta said of the guerrilla withdrawal.
In the first days of January, the M23 left the Rumangabo military base, 35 kilometers from the city of Goma, capital of North Kivu, a barracks it took last October, but the faction has not yet left other sites.
The rebels returned military dependency to East African Community troops on January 6. Regional Force (Eacrf), but they remain in the nearby Kibumba and Buhamba areas, casting doubt on their intentions.
Some public sources even claim that the insurgents have extended their control to locations towards Ishasha, a border post between the DRC and Uganda, belying their promises.
“In conclusion, we are in a situation where the effective fulfillment of the November (last) agreements is not entirely clear,” Loris Cattani, a Xaverian missionary with knowledge of the area, told the press.
In the complex African Great Lakes region, as negotiation efforts to resolve the current conflict threatening stability advance, obstacles to peace remain.
In any case, the withdrawal of the M23, while seen as a good start, is only a fragment of necessary behavior in a volatile scenario where wars and massacres have conspired since independence in the 1960s.