News / Africa

Analysts: Rwandan Support for Congo’s Rebels Waning

General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels, distributes snacks to children during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, at the Catholic church in the town of Rutshuru, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, June 16, 2013.General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels, distributes snacks to children during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, at the Catholic church in the town of Rutshuru, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, June 16, 2013.
x
General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels, distributes snacks to children during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, at the Catholic church in the town of Rutshuru, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, June 16, 2013.
General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels, distributes snacks to children during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child, at the Catholic church in the town of Rutshuru, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, June 16, 2013.
Nick Long
United Nations experts say support for the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo is waning, but that the group is still getting some help from Rwanda.

The United Nations Security Council appointed a group of experts some years ago to report on rebels in eastern Congo and on their sources of arms, recruits and funding.

The experts’ report at the end of last year caused diplomatic uproar as it accused Rwanda’s defense chief of giving orders to the M23 rebels and of sending Rwandan army units to support it. Rwanda denied the accusations.

The experts' latest report that was made public at the weekend, although it has not yet been officially released, will be less damaging for Rwanda’s image. The report says the M23 is still getting some support, however, from that country.

Analyst Timo Mueller studies conflict in the Great Lakes region for the research organization the Enough Project and has been examining the experts’ findings.

"The group of experts documented that the M23 enjoys continued, but has limited support from Rwanda. In particular, [General Sultani] Makenga, the current military commander of M23, has been able to recruit demobilized Rwandan soldiers," said Mueller.

The experts report “no evidence of full Rwandan army units supporting M23" since November, however, when the rebels briefly occupied Goma. They also say there are “no current signs of Ugandan government support for the rebels,"  whereas last year they reported some Ugandan help for the movement. The Ugandan government denied those allegations.

Division within M23

The experts say that earlier this year Rwandan officials intervened in an internal struggle between two M23 factions, led by Bosco Ntaganda, a former Congolese army general who has since been transferred to the International Criminal Court at the Hague, and former Congolese army colonel Sultani Makenga.

"According to the group of experts Rwandan officials could no longer control Bosco and his extensive network in Rwanda, as well as his actions in DRC, and given that, they decided to sideline Bosco inside the M23 movement and team up with his rival Sultani Makenga and attempt to neutralize Bosco," Mueller said.

Part of the reason for the rivalry between Ntaganda and Makenga, according to the experts, was that Ntaganda wanted the M23 to stay in the city of Goma last year after the rebels had seized it. There was heavy international pressure for them to leave. Makenga was in favor of leaving and appeared more willing to negotiate with the DRC government.

Rwandan officials’ backing for Makenga suggests they were a moderating influence on the M23 at that point.

Rebels remain a factor

Makenga won that struggle. But the experts say that has left M23 weakened, as it has lost the support of Ntaganda’s network.

M23 attacked the Congolese army in May, but failed to take its objectives, leading the experts to conclude that it is unable to carry out large-scale coordinated military operations.

Mueller thinks it’s too early, though, to write the rebels off.

"According to current estimates Makenga has 1,500 men. The movement suffers from defections, yet he’s still able to recruit, often forcibly," he said. "According to the group of experts, the M23’s main source of revenue is taxation - they make about $180,000 every month, and on that basis I wouldn’t necessarily believe that the M23 is finished."

The experts also report that Congolese army units have been collaborating with the Rwandan rebel group FDLR. Some of that group's members took part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

They have written to the Rwandan and Congolese governments asking for clarification about the alleged collaboration, and they say they are looking forward to a reply.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid