CONGO-KINSHASA Kabila looks into the abyss 30th November 2012 President Joseph Kabila on a visit to Goma in 2009. Teun Voeten / Panos Image courtesy of Panos Pictures After the eastern rebels trounce the national army and opposition movements step up the pressure, the President is fighting for his political life The seizure of Goma by the Mouvement du 23 mars rebels on 20 November has dangerously weakened the regime of President Joseph Kabila Kabange. Backed by Rwanda and Uganda, M23’s brutal campaign in eastern Congo threatens Kinshasa both by exposing the government’s inability to protect the public and by forming opportunistic alliances with other oppositionists. On 28 November, at least some M23 commanders were responding to international pressure to withdraw from Goma but they were tying this to negotiating conditions. Some commanders said they were prepared to pull their troops back to 30 kilometres outside Goma but continued to maintain a threatening posture. There are also credible reports that M23 forces have stolen over US$50 million from the city’s branch of the Banque centrale du Congo.