M23 rebels, a movement that is just six months old, have taken Goma, a major city in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It took them just four days to advance on the city, defeating the government army and proving the United Nations peacekeepers impotent, who had vowed to defend the major city on the Rwandan border.
Following running gun-battles in Goma on Tuesday morning, the rebels marched down major boulevards just after midday, unhindered by UN troops who watched on as they reached the shore of Lake Kivu.
Despite minor bursts of gun-fire throughout the afternoon, the city was largely calm by evening. The following morning, residents woke to their new masters, who announced their intention to march on Bukavu, the capital of a neighbouring province, whilst bodies still lay in the streets.
More than 750,000 people have been displaced by violence in eastern Congo this year, and on Thursday their number increased as fresh fighting broke out in Sake, some 26km from Goma. The rebels had secured the town – en-route to Bukavu – the previous day, but afternoon gun-battles and mortar fire caused tens of thousands to flee.
With no end to the fighting in sight, the situation remains precarious.