Rwandan state-backed Tutsi nationalist militia M23 renewed its operations against the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) on March 28 for the first time in nearly a decade. Amid negotiations in Nairobi between various factions in the Kivu conflict, a truce has been agreed upon this week but is not expected to last.
Directly backed by the Rwandan state, M23 rebelled against the Congolese state in 2012 and briefly occupied the city of Goma. Following significant blows from FARDC, M23 withdrew from the city and demobilized, but finally mobilized once again just over a month ago.
M23 has been linked to a myriad of human rights abuses in eastern Congo. The militia is funded by the Paul Kagame-led Tutsi power structure in part to combat the Hutu supremacist militia Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). With this, Tutsi nationalists have a direct outlet to channel vengeful aggression from the Rwandan Genocide in M23. Following decades of Belgian colonialism which pitted Tutsis and Hutus against one another, eventually culminating into the Rwandan Genocide, M23 serves as an externalization of Rwanda’s internal colonial residues. The people of eastern Congo pay for this directly.