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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

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!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs