Any given day. War in Eastern RDC – Ongoing project
The current violence in the DRC has its origins in the massive refugee crisis and spillover from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. After Hutu génocidaires fled to eastern DRC and formed armed groups, opposing Tutsi and other opportunistic rebel groups arose. The Congolese government was unable to control and defeat the various armed groups, some of which directly threatened populations in neighboring countries. From 1998 to 2003, government forces supported by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe fought rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda, in what is now known as the Second Congo War. The death toll may have reached more than five million people (estimates vary greatly). Despite the signing of a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, weak governance and institutions, along with corruption and an absence of the rule of law, have contributed to ongoing violence perpetrated by armed groups against civilians in the eastern region.
One of the most prominent rebel groups to emerge in the aftermath was known as the March 23 Movement (M23), made up primarily of ethnic Tutsis allegedly supported by the Rwandan government. M23 rebelled against the Congolese government for supposedly reneging on a prior peace deal signed in 2009. It was defeated by the Congolese army and UN peacekeepers in 2013 after it gained control of Goma, a resource-rich provincial capital in eastern DRC on the border with Rwanda and home to more than one million people. The UN Security Council authorized an offensive brigade under the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC to support the DRC state army in its fight against M23. Since M23’s defeat, other armed groups have emerged due to general lawlessness, chaos, and weak governance in eastern DRC. The country’s massive resource wealth—estimated to contain $24 trillion of untapped mineral resources—also fuels violence. The mineral trade provides financial means for groups to operate and buy arms.