DRC: Is M23 really on the retreat?

By Romain Gras, Romain Gras
Posted on Thursday, 12 January 2023 10:56

Colonel John Imani Nzenze (centre), a representative of the M23, along with heads of the regional force from EAC on 6 January 2023. © Guerchom Ndebo / AFP)

On 6 January, M23 rebels officially withdrew from one of their strongholds in Rumangabo, but before pacifists the world over could celebrate, fighting continued in other localities. What is the reality of this apparent disengagement?

As had been the case in Kibumba two weeks earlier, the ceremony for the withdrawal of the M23 from Rumangabo looked like an official event. Delayed in order to allow press access to the location, the state recovery of this strategic location, previously in rebel hands since 29 October, took place in the presence of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), the only force that has been capable of regaining control of the area.