New Historic Photos Just In (2:45 PM CST)
"Sake vient de tomber sans coups de feu" (Sake just fell without firing)-MONUSCO contact
M23 by M23
Brigadier General SULTANI MAKENGA entering the town of Goma by M23
Goma citizens line street as M23 enters town by M23
When the Congolese government on Monday refused to accept an ultimatum from the Congolese Revolutionary Army (M23) to open negotiations and accept a buffer zone, Kinshasa opened the door for the fall of the provincial capital of Goma and with it the potential collapse of the government. In spite of a dire narrative of a possible bloodbath at the hands of M23 fighters promoted by international media and human rights groups, the M23 were welcomed "like war heroes," according to an AlJazeera report posted on YouTube. "There was no armed conflict and the United Nations retreated peacefully."
The question remains as to why the Congolese government would not negotiate with the rebels and continues to blame Rwanda and Uganda for what amounts to a failed Congolese state. M23 consists of former National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) soldiers who defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 due to lack of pay and decent living conditions. Salaries, when they were paid, amounted to less than $100 per month for a senior officer. In addition, the tenets of the March 23 Goma Peace Accord between the Congolese government and the CNDP have never been fulfilled, and this is the genesis of the current crisis.
While addressing an enthusiastic and supportive crowd at the Goma soccer stadium this morning, M23 spokesman Lt. Col. Vianney Kazarama of the M23 vowed to push on to Bukavu and Kinshasha and overthrow the government. The BBC reports that Karazama asked, "Do you want us to march to Kinshasa?" The crowd shouted back: "Yes!"
Meanwhile 2,000 former Congolese soldiers (FARDC) registered with the rebels, as well as 700 provincial police. Their main concern? They want to be paid. See the following video clip from earlier today.
The people of Goma and the dispossessed of eastern Congo are weary of conflict and feel abandoned by their government. They want protection and rule of law and M23 is offering that tantalizing possibility. See the following AlJazeera report.