On Sunday February 17th the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a UN-brokered agreement along with ten other African countries agreeing to not tolerate or support any armed groups, specifically the M23 or the Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo(APCLS), two of the rebel groups causing problems in mid-eastern Africa today. At the agreement the Congolese government pledged to prevent these armed groups from gaining control in neighboring countries and agreed to put a security reform on fast-track and strengthen their army and police forces in particular. The agreement is to try and end the conflict as well as an attempt at consolidating their state authority in the East.
The fertile and mineral-rich eastern region of the Congo has been engulfed in conflict since the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and since the M23’s uprise in April of last year they have been terrorizing the region. In November of last year the M23 rebels swept through and briefly occupied the city of Goma in the East, impeding on the strength of the Congolese government. Due to the increased violence in the eastern region there is an intensified fear that the M23 may try to capture Goma again.
The fighting that erupted in Kitchanga on Wednesday(February 20th) between the Congolese troops and the rebel group Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo(APCLS), one of the many militia groups trying to gain control of the mineral-rich area in Eastern Congo. This occurred less than a week after the peace deal was signed, showing poor signs of hope to the civilians of the Congo. Over 30 houses were burned, at least 10 civilians killed and over 50 were injured in the fighting; and this is only in Kitchanga. At the same time of these fights there are many more occurring North of Goma between the M23 rebels and their rival factions.