Condemning the renewed military campaign by the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo earlier this week, the United States of America expressed concern on the rapid deterioration of the security situation in the region as the rebel group siezed cities and vowed to topple the current administration.
In her remarks at Washington DC, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland the renewed military campaign by the M23 rebel group is in violation of international law.
“We call for a ceasefire, and for the M23 to return Goma to DRC authorities and pull back to their July positions.” -Ms. Nuland
The US calls upon all states to use their influence on the M23 to bring about an immediate end to the hostilities.
“We urge Presidents Kabila, Kagame, and Museveni to engage in a direct and honest dialogue in pursuit of a political resolution to the immediate hostilities.” -Ms. Nuland
The US believes it is critical that any resolution to the crisis include holding the M23 leadership accountable for their human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.
According to Ms. Nuland, the US underscores its support for the UN Security Council’s November 17 statement.
The US supports the Council’s call for additional sanctions against the M23 leadership and its demand that any and all outside support and supplying of equipment to the M23 cease immediately.
“We underscore the importance of a long-term solution to the instability in the eastern DRC.” -Ms. Nuland
She stresses that a durable solution will require security sector reform in the DRC and political dialogue with Rwanda and Uganda and the other relevant states in the region to address the root causes of the crisis.
Reports say tens of thousands of civilians have already fled – including many who were previously displaced – and the humanitarian and security situation has deteriorated dramatically since fighting between M23 and the Congolese army (FARDC) resumed on 15 November.
The rebel group has captured city of Goma this week.
In addition, nearly 3,000 Congolese army soldiers and police defected to the rebels in Goma.
According to a UN statement, the M23 is now well equipped with heavy weapons, including 120mm mortars. Such weapons may have indiscriminate effects if used in densely populated areas.
Since the M23 was created in April 2012, Amnesty International has documented numerous human rights abuses attributed to its fighters – including unlawful killings, forced recruitment of children and young adults, and rape.