At around 3:00 this afternoon, tank and mortar fire could be heard in the city of Goma as fighting erupted again following a complete breakdown of negotiations between the rebel group M23 and the Congolese government. Even across the border in the town of Gisenyi, the sound of mortars and gunfire could be heard clearly.
Rangers at the Kibati patrol post (the start of climbs up Nyiragongo volcano) had to be evacuated to Goma as fighting swept south toward them. Not soon after, M23 rebels moved even further south to the town of Munigi on the outskirts of Goma. Now, even Munigi is behind the front lines. No one expected the battle would take place inside the city of Goma, but this has become a reality. For the rangers and their families that were evacuated to Goma, and the staff whose families live in Goma, now there is really no safe place to go. Unlike us expats, they can’t simply pop across the border to safety.