News / Africa

    African Leaders Discuss Sending Troops Into DRC

    A UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC, MONUSCO, armored vehicle drives through Rutshuru, under control of M23 rebels, north of Goma, August 4, 2012.
    A UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC, MONUSCO, armored vehicle drives through Rutshuru, under control of M23 rebels, north of Goma, August 4, 2012.
    KAMPALA — Leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region are meeting in the Ugandan capital to discuss sending an international force into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.  

    The leaders of the eleven countries that make up the African Great Lakes region gathered in Kampala, Uganda today to address the latest crisis in eastern Congo, where the government has been battling rebel groups for years.

    During the meeting, the leaders discussed sending a neutral, international force into eastern Congo to fight a rebel group known as M23. An ethnically Tutsi group of mutineers, M23 has been seizing swaths of territory since April.

    The United Nations claims that the rebels are being supported by neighboring Rwanda. Rwanda denies the charges. But if true, this would not be the first time the country had become involved in a Congolese rebellion. In the 1990s, both Rwanda and Uganda both sent troops into eastern Congo to support rival factions.

    Some have accused Uganda of backing the M23 rebels as well, which the Ugandan government vehemently denies. According to Thierry Vircoulon, the Central Africa project director for the International Crisis Group, there is little evidence to support such an accusation. But, he says, there could be indirect support coming from Uganda, even if it is not from the government itself.

    “There's a lot of allegations circulating around and of course a lot of Congolese think that what's happening now is a repetition of what happened in the '90s when Uganda and Rwanda backed proxies in eastern Congo," says Vircoulon. "However it also very possible that some warlords in eastern Congo still have connections in Uganda and are still using them.”

    Congo’s Information Minister Lambert Mende insists that the messy history of the Great Lakes region makes it impossible for certain countries, such as Uganda and Rwanda, to be part of any neutral force deployed in eastern Congo.+

    “It must go beyond the region,"says Mende. "It is a neutral force, that is to say that neither Congo nor Rwanda can be part of this force, or any other country that can be suspected of not being neutral in this very, very long conflict.”

    But Vircoulon calls the proposal for a neutral force a “diplomatic distraction," adding that the U.N. and African Union are too busy to actually deploy troops to the DRC.  Nor are the Great Lakes countries willing to finance such a force themselves, Vircoulon says.

    “When it comes to the African force that should be deployed they, as usual, turn to the African Union and the U.N. to support it, which basically means that ‘we agree to send such a force, but we need your support financially and logistically’, which is, of course, raising a lot of skepticism,” he says.

    The summit in Kampala follows on the heels of a meeting last week in Khartoum, in which the Great Lakes defense ministers gathered to discuss the proliferation of rebel groups in eastern Congo.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jean Kapenda from: USA/DRC
    August 07, 2012 11:02 AM
    I am a Criminology professor in the United States, and any of my CJ 1010 students will easily pinpoint Africa's Great Lakes region main problem: motivated offenders (dictators and their accomplices) + suitable target (Congo's riches) + lack of effective guardianship (international community, local institutions). What is the solution then? Create a Dictatorship-Free Zone (DFZ) . Once leaders are held accountable to their own people and punishment is certain, they will think 100 times before looting the riches of the Congo. Otherwise we would be fueling the Chinese with arguments to engrave a new script in Congolese minds. A bon entendeur, salut!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora