DRC: Bombing at Goma International Airport Amid Regional Tensions

In the early hours of Saturday, February 17, 2024, the Goma International Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was reportedly targeted in a bombing incident. According to multiple sources within the airport, at least two bombs were dropped, causing some damage. As of now, there has been no official communication from authorities regarding the attack. However, reports suggest that these bombings might have originated from Kibumba, where the M23 rebels and Rwandan army are believed to have stationed long-range weaponry.

This incident comes at a time when the region around Goma is experiencing heightened tensions. Regional leaders, including President Félix Tshisekedi of the DRC and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, are currently in Addis Ababa for a mini-summit focused on the security situation in Eastern DRC. The attack raises concerns about the escalating conflict in the area, which has seen a significant increase in hostilities.

Despite the early morning attack, operations at Goma Airport resumed normally later in the day. According to a local journalist, international and domestic flights are landing and taking off without disruption, indicating a swift recovery from the incident.

Analysts believe that this act of aggression could be a strategic move by the M23 and the Rwandan government to exert pressure on the Congolese government and the international community. This is seen as an attempt to secure a more favorable position in ongoing negotiations. Notably, even though M23 is not directly involved in the peace talks, Rwanda’s support for the group and its diplomatic efforts on behalf of M23 are seen as significant factors in the conflict.