News / Africa

African Leaders Demand Rebels Leave Goma

Congolese M23 rebel soldiers are seen on the road to Rushura, some 25 kilometers north of Goma, Nov. 22, 2012.
Congolese M23 rebel soldiers are seen on the road to Rushura, some 25 kilometers north of Goma, Nov. 22, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Andrew Green
— A meeting of central and east African leaders has ended with calls for the M23 rebel forces to immediately stop fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The announcement followed a meeting of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region - a bloc of east and central African countries - in Kampala. The extraordinary meeting was organized after M23 rebels took the key eastern Congolese city of Goma earlier this week.

The summit, attended by the presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, the DRC and Uganda and officials from seven other countries, called for the rebels to end their threats to overthrow the Congolese government. The regional leaders told the rebels to immediately withdraw at least 20 kilometers north of Goma so Congolese troops and police officers could regain control of the city.

Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa read the 10-point declaration, which also emphasized the Congolese government’s role in ending the conflict.

“The Democratic Republic of Congo government to listen, evaluate and resolve the legitimate grievances of M23, including the work already done by the organization,” said Kutesa.


  • Shops closed in Sake a day after M23 rebels took control of the town following overnight battles with the Congolese army, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow/VOA)
  • Fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people from the town of Sake, west of Goma, DRC, November 23, 2011. (G. Joselow/VOA)
  • With IDP camps filling up since the rebellion in eastern Congo began in April, newly displaced people are sleeping in churches until they can find a place to settle, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow/VOA)
  • Displaced people from the town of Sake gather at the Mugunga camp on the road to Goma, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow.VOA)
  • Families flee fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels in the town of Sake, DRC, November 23, 2012. G. Joselow/VOA)

The regional body also called for a composite force of neutral troops and soldiers of the Congolese government and M23 to be stationed at Goma’s airport. An earlier meeting of the conference had recommended a neutral regional force be deployed in eastern Congo, but the latest meeting did not clarify which countries would provide troops.

The conference’s plan echoed a message issued by the presidents of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC after a two-day meeting earlier this week. The M23 rebels have reportedly rejected the previous call to end their campaign, instead demanding peace talks with Congolese President Joseph Kabila.

But Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo, who was standing in for President Paul Kagame, says the latest meeting was an important reinforcement.

“We expect the M23, as well as the government of the DRC, to abide by the deal that has been brokered by this organization,” said Mushikiwabo.

The chiefs of Uganda’s defense forces will lead the execution of the plan, with supervision from Rwandan and Congolese military officials.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid