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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More