Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo – North Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been wracked by armed conflict for two decades, but a hint of change is in the air. The headlinegrabbing M23 rebel movement is, for the first time, apparently on a back foot against the government army who made military advances during operations this July. Popular support for the army is high, a drastic change from the despondency that gripped Goma at the end of last year when M23 caused the army to flee the city, resulting in occupation.
The United Nations, however, is experiencing a slump in popularity, amidst claims by civil society of inaction, and that they are limiting the army’s advance. In the province’s “Great North”, a Muslim rebel group originating from Uganda, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), has caused thousands to flee their homes. Across the region, myriad armed groups roam the bush.
Winds of change are in the air of Goma, but the focus on M23 tells little of the large scale insecurity that still wracks the region.