In Rebel Country: How Did 1,000 Skinny Militiamen in Rubber Boots Conquer a City of 1 Million People in a Matter of Hours?
The lives of millions of poor Africans living under corrupt regimes and equally corrupt rebel groups are being upended by a relative few. How did this come about? What do the rebels want and what does the ‘Devil you know versus the Devil you don’t’ mean for the people affected?
While no one really knows how the story will end, history teaches us the likelihood of a positive outcome are remote. Tribal rivalries, criminal gangs and leaders jockeying for the opportunity to impose an iron grip on a hopeless and hapless populations are not even denied.
Will Africa ever see daylight? What will it take? And what will take for the western world is outraged at the tragedy that is Africa today?
After three days of sporadic fighting in and around Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the city fell to the M23 rebel movement last Monday night, November 19. The following Thursday morning, the military spokesman of the M23, Col. Vianney Kazarama, was standing at an intersection in central Goma, addressing a group of young men. Government troops were said to be in the hills planning a counteroffensive, and United Nations peacekeepers, who had attacked the M23 forces with helicopter gunships before fleeing, were nearby, awaiting new orders. Kazarama didn’t care, he said. He was thinking ahead. The M23 was going to create a better future not just for Goma but for all of Congo, he told the young men, and it needed their help.
“We have to go to Bukavu!” said Kazarama, referring to the capital of South Kivu province, some 60 miles south, and the presumed next step in the M23′s march, “and on to Kinshasa!” Kinshasa, the country’s capital, is a rather more ambitious goal, lying some 1,000 miles west across a dense mass of jungle. Kazarama then repeated what has become his favorite refrain since his group burst onto the world stage last week, calling on the president of Congo to step down. “Joseph Kabila must leave the country!” he said. Then he promised the young men that the M23, which officially formed in April, would provide them all with jobs.