This article was last updated on March 17, 2023
Fighting intensifies Eastern Congo
The conflict in Eastern Congo is escalating with reports of massacres, burned villages, and mass rapes between rebel groups and government forces. The situation is leading to displacement, with 300,000 people displaced in February alone, and the death toll has reached hundreds of thousands in recent years. Despite the relevance of the conflict due to the presence of raw materials like cobalt and gold needed for sustainable energy and the involvement of regional troops and militias, the news is no longer making international headlines. War photographer Moses Sawasawa, who was born in Goma and captures the conflict with his camera, believes that the world must not forget about the situation in Congo.
While attention is currently focused on the well-armed rebel group M23, more than a hundred other armed groups are active in the region, fighting each other and robbing and trading raw materials. The root causes of the conflict, including a weak state that cannot protect citizens, porous borders, and a population that does not benefit from the mineral resources, have not been addressed, leading to decades of instability. Interference from neighboring countries, including Rwanda, and the presence of regional troops, including the UN peacekeeping force Monusco, have also contributed to the situation.
Critics argue that the troops, rebel groups, and some politicians and businessmen benefit from the chaos and impunity in the area, leading to a major humanitarian crisis. The situation could improve in the short term if Rwanda stops supporting M23, but the International Crisis Group advocates for dialogue between the countries in the region and for Congo to take the lead in addressing the underlying causes of the conflict. Meanwhile, photographer Moses Sawasawa witnesses the pain and despair of refugees in the camps and hopes for peace.