Democratic Republic of Congo

In December 2023, President Félix Tshisekedi won a second term, while his Union Sacrée coalition swept up the most seats in parliament. With all candidates allowed to stand, the presidential election avoided some of the controversies of 2018. But despite Tshisekedi’s wide margin of victory, the polls were marked by chaos and reports of rigging. The political landscape remains deeply divided, and in the east, both Ituri and North Kivu provinces are rocked by instability. In the former, the Allied Democratic Forces continues its murderous campaign against civilians, attacking targets in Uganda, too, despite a Ugandan military campaign in Ituri since late 2021. In North Kivu, the 23 March Movement, widely seen as backed by Rwanda, continues to fight the Congolese army, which is backed by informal auxiliaries as well as allies from the Southern African Development Community. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled their homes as fighting spreads. Crisis Group aims to provide detailed recommendations on how to calm national tensions and de-escalate the situation in the east.

CrisisWatch Democratic Republic of Congo

Deteriorated Situation

Islamic State-linked group sharply escalated attacks, killing hundreds in east; M23 rebels continued advance, new govt appointed amid political tensions. 

Jihadist violence surged in Beni and Lubero territories in North Kivu province. Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) intensified attacks with series of deadly assaults. Group 4-7 June reportedly killed close to 100 civilians in several villages in Baswagha-Madiwe locality, Beni territory; ADF 12-13 June extended attacks to Lubero territory, further south than usual area, killing at least 40 civilians in Maikengo village. Civil society groups 15 June said militants may have killed at least 200 in previous month in Beni and Lubero. Violence also continued in neighbouring Ituri province. In Mambasa territory, ADF 11 June attacked Masongo town, killing six civilians. In Djugu territory, ethnic Lendu militia CODECO 20 June killed 25 civilians in Bianda village and same day killed at least 36 in Lodjo village.

M23 rebels extended offensive northward in North Kivu. Advancing from early June onwards, M23 28 June seized strategic Kanyabayonga town on Route Nationale 2, important gateway to commercial Butembo and Beni towns, and took Kirumba town two days later; expansion opened up access to Lubero territory, north of main hotspots of Masisi and Rutshuru territories where military and allies continued to clash with M23. Fighting displaced tens of thousands including north toward Beni territory, while thousands sought refuge in provincial capital Goma; displacement to neighbouring South Kivu province also contributed to deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions there, including in Minova town which remained in line of rebel mortar fire. Meanwhile, leaked UN report noted heavy Rwandan military presence in North Kivu (see Rwanda).

New govt took office after months of delay. National Assembly 11 June endorsed new 54-member strong govt under PM Suminwa, dominated by President Tshisekedi’s Union for Democracy and Social Progress and close associates. Sidelining or demoting of senior ruling-coalition figures and their parties – including National Assembly head Vital Kamerhe and FM Lutundula – incited discontent over perceived power grab by Tshisekedi. Meanwhile, church observation mission 17 June published final report on Dec 2023 general elections, criticising electoral commission’s handling of vote. 

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In The News

22 Май 2024
The main resource driving conflict [in the DRC] isn’t coltan. It is the land. It’s material ownership, of course, but also who has a legitimate right to be here. Foreign Policy

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
9 Май 2024
Rwanda’s primary interest [in the war in eastern DRC] is to continue to have its say in this geopolitical battlefield. Financial Times

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
22 Февр. 2024
If the regional escalation [in the DRC] continues, we could find ourselves in a scenario like during the other Congo wars … More bombing means more displacement. The Economist

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
20 Дек. 2023
The credibility of the elections [in the DRC] has been severely damaged and the opposition may contest not only the outcome but the entire process. The Guardian

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Great Lakes (Interim)
7 Дек. 2023
The Congolese state is still riven with corruption and [president Felix Tshisekedi] hasn’t done anything visible or immediately obvious to tackle it. Al Jazeera

Richard Moncrieff

Project Director, Great Lakes (Interim)
17 Дек. 2022
If we can't negotiate a humanitarian corridor for the city [of Goma in eastern DR Congo], it will be a catastrophe. AFP

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi

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Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
Onesphore Sematumba

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