Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, marked the one year anniversary of the M23 movement’s siege on the city of Goma. The M23 rebel group grew out of disputes regarding the March 23, 2009, peace agreement between the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC, and the National Congress for the Defense of the People, or CNDP. While CNDP leader, General Bosco Ntaganda, agreed in the 2009 March accord to integrate his forces into the government army, he led a mutiny of soldiers in early April 2012. General Ntaganda believed the DRC government was failing to implement the March accords and that the Congolese Tutsi population would face persecution in eastern Congo. Fighting in eastern Congo between the M23 and the Armed Forces for the Democratic Republic of Congo, or FARDC, has led to massive civilian displacement and human rights abuses over the past several years and their power culminated in the capture of Goma last November. However, after months of increased UN support to the FARDC, a series of military gains, and increasing blocks to armed groups' ability to siphon funds from minerals smuggling, the M23 surrendered on November 7, 2013.
To mark this anniversary, the Enough Project is releasing a timeline, "Tracking the M23." The interactive timeline follows key events from the creation of M23's predecessor CNDP to the present day. By sorting the events based on categories, the timeline allows viewers to easily visualize the impact that the M23 imposed on eastern Congo and the international community as a whole. The timeline outlines the attacks, human rights abuses, and failed negotiations which defined the M23’s reign, highlighting the importance of regional cooperation, international pressure, and comprehensive solutions to address armed groups. It concludes with the faltering peace talks in the immediate aftermath of the M23’s surrender, highlighting the continued need for a strategy to deal with the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of armed groups.
Sahar Adora and Katrien Hinderael contributed to this post.