The ‘Mouvement du 23 Mars’ (M23) is an armed group operating in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The M23 rebels emerged in 2012 as a group denouncing the poor implementation of a 2009 peace agreement. The agreement was between the previous rebel group ‘Congrès national pour la défense du peuple’ (CNDP) and the Congolese government (source). The group resurfaced in 2021 and started capturing territory in the North Kivu province which borders Rwanda and Uganda (source). Significantly, M23 claim to represent the Tutsi population in the DRC. Furthermore, they criticise the DRC government for failing to provide a safe return to Congolese Tutsi refugees (source). A seven-nation East Africa Community (EAC) regional military force was deployed last November. The force aims to neutralise M23 and other armed groups fighting in Eastern DRC.
Key Judgment 1: With Rwanda supporting M23 rebels, violence by the M23 rebel group will likely worsen relations between DRC and Rwanda in the next 12 months.
Key Judgment 2: It is highly likely that Eastern DRC will see an increased number of internally displaced persons (IDP) in the next 12 months as fighting between M23 and DRC armed forces continues.
Key Judgment 3: North Kivu provincial capital Goma is a protection priority and it is therefore unlikely that M23 forces will capture the city in the next 12 months.