Published: November 24. 2012 4:00AM PST
Residents flee the eastern Congolese town of Sake on Friday. For the past week, a group of a few thousand well-disciplined rebel fighters, widely believed to be covertly supported by neighboring Rwanda, has captured a string of towns in eastern Congo, including Goma, a provincial capital, raising serious questions about the stability of this vast and often-troubled country. Congo’s army, which has been notoriously corrupt and dysfunctional for decades, has been defeated in just about every recent battle. The government mounted a rare counteroffensive Thursday on the rebel-held town of Sake, but by dawn Friday it was clear the rebels had repulsed the attack and were continuing their advance south toward Bukavu, one of the biggest cities in eastern Congo.
Jerome Delay / The Associated Press