UK Embassy in Kinshasa Responds to Escalating Conflict in Eastern DRC Amid Local Protests

On February 9, 2024, the British Embassy in Kinshasa issued a statement expressing deep concern over the escalation of conflicts in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the dire humanitarian consequences for the Congolese population. The statement highlighted that over 135,000 people were displaced in just one week across towns and villages in North and South Kivu, with tens of thousands fleeing their homes following attacks by the M23 rebel group on February 7, 2024.

The UK condemned the violent offensive by M23 and the actions of all illegal armed groups in eastern DRC, emphasizing their contribution to the misery and suffering of innocent civilians. The UK pledged support for all parties towards dialogue and a return to regional peace-building processes, which are seen as the best opportunity for peace.

This declaration from the British Embassy followed protests in front of the UK embassy in Kinshasa on the same day. Demonstrators burned tires and chanted anti-Western slogans, reflecting a broader dissatisfaction with the international response to the crisis. Congolese protesters accused Western countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, of complicity and failing to adequately condemn Rwanda, which has been implicated by United Nations experts for supporting the M23 rebels that have seized parts of North Kivu Province.

Some protesters went as far as accusing Western nations of being part of an international conspiracy led by Rwanda aimed at the balkanization of the DRC and the exploitation of its rich mineral resources.