After rebelling from the Congolese national army, taking weapons and ammunition with them, M23 grew into a major rebel movement in eastern Congo's North Kivu province.
The United Nations maintains its largest peace-keeping mission in Congo, but has repeated failed to halt rebel advances through the east.
Throughout the rebel campaign, both sides (M23 and FARDC, the Congolese national army) have been accused of human rights abuses. According to rebels, these two men were allegedly massacred by retreating FARDC forces.
The Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) were deployed throughout the region, but failed to halt rebel advances despite UN support.
The national army attempted to prevent rebels from approaching Goma, trying to maintain a buffer zone of around 30km.
In November 2012, the rebels took Goma, the provincial capital and an important economic hub on the Rwandan border, and ousted the army, causing the displacement of thousands of civilians, both internally and across the border to Uganda and Rwanda.
But as rebels overran army positions and approached Goma, the FARDC were pushed back to the city as their last line of defence, resulting in gun battles in the city.
Scores of soldiers—both army and rebel—died in the battle for Goma and surrounding towns.
In the military hospital in Goma, a lone M23 rebel lay amongst FARDC soldiers injured in the battle. The loyalist soldiers remained in the hospital as their comrades fled and the rebels took over the city.
The rebels captured Goma on November 20, 2012, the first time the city has fallen for nearly a decade. The following day, they assembled residents of the city in the main stadium.
People react to the rebel announcement. nrest has plagued eastern Congo for nearly two decades.
Children have grown up in a constant state of unrest.
The rebels officially withdrew from Goma on December 1, 2012, after a 12 day occupation of the city.
They left Goma much stronger than when they had arrived, looting government vehicles, as well as obtaining a large number of weapons and ammunition.
It took two days for a small contingent of loyalist soldiers to return to the city; their numbers would not return to full strength for fear of provoking M23.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of this rebellion; for many, it was not their first time to flee fighting.
Both temporary- and permanent-camps for the displaced strained with the swelling numbers of displaced.
Violence has become engrained in the lives of people here, with few perpetrators inflicting their will on many, leaving populations terrified.
The use of children in conflict is widely reported in Congo. This girl was recruited by a different rebel group and used as forced labour for them, until she was injured by a stray-bullet.
Despite the rebel withdrawal from Goma itself, they remain close to the city, and many fear that they could return at any moment. The future of anyone living in eastern Congo remains uncertain.