Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Intensification of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with regional spillover


The threat of violence in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) persists despite the defeat and surrender of the M23  (Mouvement du 23 Mars) rebel group, threatening the lives of millions and spilling across borders. The M23 is the leading threat to peace and security. After the group gained control of the city of Goma in 2012, the United Nations (UN) Security Council authorized an offensive brigade under the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to confront the M23.

The group signed a peace agreement with the DRC government on December 12, 2013, but questions remain as to whether the government and intervening nations can foster peace in a country riddled with unaddressed grievances and disagreements over land and economic opportunities. At least ten other militant groups are believed to be operating in eastern DRC, including the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda, which stepped up attacks in eastern DRC following the surrender of the M23.

The United States played a pivotal role in brokering the 2003 peace agreement that ended the Second Congo War and is the largest donor to MONUSCO. An inability of the United Nations, African Union, and neighboring countries to address the threats from remaining rebel groups could result in a resurgence of violent conflict, further deterioration of the humanitarian situation, and cross-border spillover into Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi—countries where the United States has long supported strengthening the rule of law and promoting democracy.

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