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Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

Unraveling Rwanda and Congo Conflict: 1994 to 2023

Analyzing all the events that led to the conflict between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.
This image shows the kids in the Rwandan Genocide

The conflict in the eastern DRC dates way back to 1994, resulting in the deaths of more than six million people. The drastically increasing tension resulted in another war that started in October 2023. The following are a few significant conflicts that led to the battle:


The History:

According to Britannica, Hutu and Tutsis are both ethnic groups in Rwanda. In 1994, the Hutu military killed more than 800,000 Tutsis, some from their own group. Tutu then took over the war and made many Hutus flee to DRC. Furthermore, Rwanda then attacked the DRC in an attempt to find additional rebel leaders. According to the Eastern Congo Initiative, this invasion caused the first Congo War, which lasted from 1996 to 1997. Not too long after, the second Congo War, also known as the Great War of Africa, lasted from 1998 to 2003. The tension between Rwanda and DRC increased substantially after the second conflict. According to IPIS

In 2012, a rebel group known as M23 was created by former Tutsi soldiers who were dissatisfied with some parts of the Congolese army.

“It started with imperialism. Before the British Empire came these countries were on their own but once the empire came they set boundaries and rules for these countries. This invasion led to a lot of problems, especially figuring out who has access to resources and controls political dominance,” said history teacher Danielle Elia. 


M23 Invasion in 2022

According to Why War is Escalating in the Congo, M23 launched a rebellion group in DRC, which was taken down by the Congolese Army, who forced them out of the country. However, that didn’t stop M23, and they returned in 2022. They started a conflict with North Kivu. This event caused them to take over considerable territory and people. Civilians also had to protest violently since the UN couldn’t protect them. The failure to protect the civilians led to the deaths of 36 demonstrators and five UN peacekeepers. The M23 invasion caused the tension between DRC and Rwanda to rise again. The DRC also charged Rwanda with the allegations of helping M23. Though Rwanda denied that they supported the group, their allies, like the US, claimed that they did help M23 with troops and materials. According to AP News, UN experts claim that Rwanda did help M23. These rebel groups are trying to have representation.

“The rebel groups are going against the war, and the DRC is trying to implement it, which can be seen worldwide and in many different areas. M23 is just trying to show their country and fight for them,” said history teacher Anthony Colabella. 


An Increase in Tension:

After the accusations of Rwanda helping the M23 group, people wanted a cease-fire. According to A Legacy of Intervention, 300,000 Congolese had already left their homes when Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, and the DRC agreed to a cease-fire after negotiations assisted by Kenya in November. M23, on the other hand, was not ready to withdraw and accused Congo of supporting a Hutu military group. In 2023, Rwanda attacked military fires on DCR, which DCR acclaimed to start another war. 


Tshisekedi Advocates for the Withdrawal of Peacekeepers:

In September 2023, President Tshisekedi announced that the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC would depart a year early. This departure was because it failed to cope with rebellions and armed conflicts. In October 2023, the International Migration Organization (IOM) stated that over 6.9 million people, more than 80% in the country’s east, have been displaced. The war has caused the death of many innocent civilians, describing it as one of the most significant internal displacement and humanitarian crises globally. 

The war had killed many people from both sides. According to Al Jazeera, it is essential for a political solution because innocent citizens face the consequences of these regional rivalries. Political solutions included Rwanda admitting that it supports the M23 to dissolve some tensions. The security council states that for humanity to benefit, there should be a resolution to endure peace in Goma, in the eastern DRC, inside this subregion (Al Jazeera).

“It’s important that people have access to spread information to get help. Just something that brings attention like ‘Hey here’s the problem’. Like in Vietnam during communism, some Buddhist monks set themselves on fire. That action brought so much attention to what was happening. Now I’m not saying that people have done this, but you have to call attention to the problems that other countries would know about,” said Elia.

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