NAIROBI, Kenya – History is repeating itself in eastern Congo. Rebels supported by Rwanda are on the march. Civilians are fleeing. And hidden, higher powers appear to be taking sides.
Congo and Rwanda have been at this stage before. First in 1996, then in 1998. Also in 2004 and 2008. The first two conflicts had their roots in Rwanda's 1994 genocide, but now the fighting is mostly over mineral wealth — including minerals used in the world's smart phones and laptops.
Congo is rich in diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt and tungsten. The provincial capital of Goma, which lies on the Rwandan border and which fell to the M23 rebel group on Tuesday, is a major processing point for minerals coming out of eastern Congo.