In 2008, the precursor to the M23 was the CNDP, led by a Tutsi general called Laurent Nkunda, who was said to be close to Rwanda’s government and its president, Paul Kagame. Mr. Nkunda was arrested and is under house arrest in Rwanda. But many of the CNDP’s commanders and troops now man the M23. This new group initially appeared to be less connected to Rwanda, which has a long history of military and political interference in its giant neighbor. However, a report to the UN Security Council in October claimed that Rwanda and Uganda were arming and financing the rebels, and in Rwanda’s case, supplying troops. Rwanda has strongly denied this.
Why would Rwanda want to get involved?
Ostensibly, to protect its border, and because it claims that Congo has failed to crush an armed group in its east made up of Hutu people who allegedly led Rwanda’s genocide in 1994. It was for this reason that Rwanda invaded Congo in 1996, installing a pro-Rwandan president, Laurent Kabila, as president in Kinshasa. Kabila and Rwanda later fell out, and central Africa fell into five years of war. Rwanda’s involvement may not, however, be limited to politics – eastern Congo is awash with minerals, and Rwanda reportedly supports rebel groups so that it can maintain access to mines producing gold, tin, and coltan, used in almost all consumer electronics, including mobile phones.
Goma has fallen to the M23. What now?