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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
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.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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