Thousands of people are fleeing their homes in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as violence escalates between the Congolese army and the M23 armed group. The conflict, centered around the strategic town of Sake, has prompted a mass exodus of residents seeking refuge in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
The situation in Goma has become increasingly precarious as rockets rain down on the city’s outskirts, raising fears among its two million residents. The Congolese army and United Nations peacekeepers are struggling to contain M23’s advance, with the rebels reportedly surrounding Sake, a key logistical hub on the road to Goma.
The sudden displacement of thousands has left civilians grappling with uncertainty and fear, with many recounting harrowing scenes of violence and chaos. Despite the arduous journey to Goma, which can take up to five hours on foot, displaced individuals like Alain Bauma have been left with no choice but to seek safety in the city.
The inability of President Felix Tshisekedi’s government to quell the violence has raised doubts about its capacity to restore peace in the region. Accusations of Rwandan support for the M23 rebels further complicate the situation, exacerbating diplomatic tensions in the region.
As clashes intensify and displacement surges, the future remains uncertain for the people of Goma and its surrounding areas. Civilians, already bearing the brunt of the violence, are caught in a cycle of conflict with no end in sight. Despite promises from the government to protect Goma from falling into M23 hands, the threat of further violence looms large over the region.