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Congo democratic republic

In the spring of 2012, the former rebels who were integrated into the army in 2009 mutinied, saying the government—rife with corruption—had reneged on terms of the cease-fire that was signed on March 23, 2009. The rebels, called the M23 movement, are led by Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, a Tutsi who is wanted by the International Criminal Court. M23 fought government troops throughout the year, taking over city after city. The violence peaked in November, when the rebels took Goma in eastern Congo. Rwanda, which is led by Tutsi Paul Kagame, is widely suspected of not only supplying arms to the rebels but also fighting alongside them.

The UN and leaders from 11 central African nations, including the presidents of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo, signed a framework agreement in February 2013, pledging to work together to end the conflict with the rebels. In March, the UN Security Council authorized an "intervention brigade" of 3,000 troops to disarm the rebels. The brigade supplemented the 15,000 UN peacekeeping troops already in Congo. After heavy fighting in August, the UN brigade forced the rebels out of Goma. However, the signers of the framework agreement had made little progress in the peace process.

Ntaganda turned himself in to the U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2013. He was transferred to the Hague, where he will face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It was not clear why he chose to surrender.

The M23 rebels surrendered in November 2013. The UN"s more aggressive approach, an improved Congolese Army, and a reduction in aid to Rwanda contributed to the defeat of the rebels.

See also Encyclopedia: Congo (Kinshasa)

U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Congo (Kinshasa)