Rebels have claimed control of Goma, the
the main city in the resource-rich eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hundreds of fighters from the M23 group entered the city of one million people after days of clashes with government troops.
The United Nations peacekeeping force simply gave up defending the city. One unnamed UN source is reported as saying, “once the rebels were in the town what could we do?” There was a mood of frustration among locals who had not fled.
“We feel abandoned by the government of president Kabila, we do not know what to do. The United Nations peacekeepers are completely useless, they stood and watched the rebels take over without putting up any resistance. We feel absolutely cheated,” said Goma resident Victor Kabengele.
As government troops left the city hundreds of M23 fighters were greeted by cheering crowds. It is the first time since the war officially ended in 2003 that rebels have entered Goma. It could flare up again as the President Joseph Kabila appealed for calm.
“It’s difficult to say we should keep our calm, but effectively, we must keep our calm. Congo must continue to prepare and mobilise.”
Many Congolese made the short journey across the border into Rwanda which stands accused of assisting the rebels in a bid to take control of the regions mineral wealth. The government of Rwanda denies the claims.