et the controversy around Kishishe proved a stark reminder of how information warfare – fuelled by the meteoric spread of mobile internet and social media – is now an increasingly important part of conflict dynamics in eastern DRC.
Rumour, hate speech, manipulated or erroneous images, and inflated body counts have all spread like wildfire during the current M23 crisis, with both the Congolese and Rwandan militaries heavily involved.
Observers and analysts are not taking this new reality into sufficient consideration. Instead, some have uncritically reproduced narratives strategically deployed by the warring factions, inadvertently becoming a part of the war’s information ecosystem.
information war – which can impact events on the ground and shape how we think about the DRC conflict – there is a need for more thorough, on the ground verification and fact-checking of violent incidents
mperative to resist the seduction of mono-causal explanations – from foreign meddling to Congolese state weakness – of the M23 and wider DRC conflict, especially when they stem from the warring parties’ own playbooks.
one is clustered around
a storyline that conveniently ignores the death and destruction caused
There is truth in aspects of both narratives, yet neither captures the full reality.
Rather than accounting for the multiple synchronous drivers of conflict, these accounts trade in single explanations and therefore represent a form of information warfare.