The Congolese city of Goma fell to rebels on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The city of one million residents was captured by the group M23 following several days of fighting between rebels and United Nations-backed government troops. On Tuesday, government troops had left the city behind, leaving only the U.N. troops behind to watch as rebels paraded through Goma's streets, as stated in another Reuters article.
Here are further details regarding the capture of Goma.
* Goma is the capital of North Kivu, a province in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo as shown on a U.N. map using French provincial names. North Kivu borders Rwanda and Uganda.
* Militant activity has been relatively constant in eastern Congo in recent years, with conflicts in 1996, 1998, 2004, and 2008 involving Rwanda and the DRC, as noted by the Associated Press.
* Activist groups are alarmed by the connection between M23 and human rights abuses. Human rights violations by the group have included forced recruitment of children as soldiers.
* The International Crisis Group has called for sanctions against M23's leader and external supporters to be put in place by the U.N., U.S., U.K. and European Union, saying that "the past week has shown history repeating itself in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with the same tragic consequences for civilians in the region."
* Uganda says it has taken a role in mediating between government forces and the rebels, but says a U.N. report that accused Uganda of supported the rebels had damaged their efforts, as mentioned by Reuters.
* In retaliation for the report, Uganda has threatened to pull troops out of their peacekeeping duties in Somalia.
* The U.N. report regarding M23 resulted in the U.S. suspending $200,000 worth of military aid to Rwanda, seen as a backer of the rebel group. Some European nations have reacted as well by suspending humanitarian aid to the country.
* State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during a press briefing on Monday that Under Secretary Wendy Sherman visited the country in early November, along with Rwanda and Uganda, and that she would be speaking with leaders again in coming days. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa had also been in touch with Rwanda and the DRC's foreign and defense ministers, according to Nuland.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.
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