A deal to try to end the conflict that has been raging, if somewhat under the radar, in the Democratic Republic of Congo for many years now, was signed today in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa through the United Nations.
The treaty was signed by the leaders of the DRC as well as Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and several others, totaling 11 nations. It acts to try to achieve peace through a variety of political measures and is intended to lead to the formation of a special intervention brigade, numbering up to 2500, by the United Nations specifically to take action in the DRC. The UN has maintained a presence of peacekeeping troops in the DRC for the past few years, but many nations, especially in the West, argue that this is not enough to keep the rebel forces at bay.
The conflict has mainly been carried out by M23, with the aid of a few ethnic minorities and tribes. The group is widely known for committing war crimes and, on occasion, carrying out terrorist acts. While the group claims that they aim to improve conditions for those residing in the eastern region of the DRC, they have on many occasions used child soldiers, and in total over 140,000 people have died in the conflict. Most analysts believe that the goal of the rebels is to take control over the vast mineral resources located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The founder of M23 owns several mines in the eastern part of the nation.
Most of the fighting has been contained within the North-Kivu province of the DRC, but growing international concerns surfaced in November when M23 seized the town of Goma, a large town which has played in a pivotal role in the government's campaign against the rebels. However, a ceasefire was called by the rebels this January and talks are currently being held between the government and leaders of M23 in Uganda. A previous attempt at a ceasefire failed when the rebels accused the President of the DRC, Joseph Kaliba, of retracting his promise to incorporate rebel fighters into the army. A previous attempt at signing the same international peace agreement last month also failed. Overall, this can be considered a success, if so far only on paper.