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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs