News / Africa

UN Warns of ‘External Support’ of DRC Rebels

A soldier from the M23 rebel group looks on as thousands of Congolese people listen during an M23 rally, in Goma, eastern Congo, Nov. 21, 2012A soldier from the M23 rebel group looks on as thousands of Congolese people listen during an M23 rally, in Goma, eastern Congo, Nov. 21, 2012
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A soldier from the M23 rebel group looks on as thousands of Congolese people listen during an M23 rally, in Goma, eastern Congo, Nov. 21, 2012
A soldier from the M23 rebel group looks on as thousands of Congolese people listen during an M23 rally, in Goma, eastern Congo, Nov. 21, 2012
Margaret Besheer
The U.N.’s top official in the Democratic Republic of Congo has told the U.N. Security Council that rebels are receiving weapons and equipment from outside the DRC.

International concerns are high that the rebels who have entrenched themselves in the DRC’s mineral-rich eastern provinces are receiving assistance from foreign backers.  A U.N. report made public on Wednesday, but leaked weeks ago, accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of providing the M23 rebel group with material support.

The U.N.’s top envoy in the DRC, Roger Meece, did not name any country during a video briefing from Congo.  But he laid out some of his concerns and observations.

“The M23 forces are well provisioned, and well supplied with uniforms, and a variety of arms and munitions, many of which clearly have not come from existing FARDC [i.e., Armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] stocks.  They exhibit many characteristics of a strong, disciplined, established military force with sophisticated tactics and operations, including night operations, which are not characteristic of traditional performance,” Meece said.

Meece said MONUSCO, the 17,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in the DRC, does not have the mandate or the means to investigate the situation.  He noted other indications of outside support for the M23 rebels.

“We can and have reported our encounters with English-speaking officers, surprising weaponry and equipment being used, and other signs of external support,” Meece said.

French is the official language in the DRC, while English is widely spoken in Rwanda and Uganda.

On Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that opens the door to new sanctions against individuals and entities that support the rebels as well as against rebel commanders.  The sanctions are intended to cut off financing to spoilers, many of whom are linked to the exploitation of the DRC’s mineral wealth through the illicit trade of natural resources.

The council also called for the immediate withdrawal of the M23 from the regional capital, Goma.  Since taking Goma on Tuesday, the rebels have moved into the town of Sake, 25 kilometers to the northwest.

Meece told the council that in addition to their military gains, the rebels have started setting up a formal governing structure in North Kivu and have executed resisting local officials.  But despite these gains on the ground, he noted that the M23 does not have the full support of any ethnic group or community.

Meanwhile, the presidents of the DRC and Rwanda met Wednesday in Kampala under the auspices of the Ugandan president.  U.N. officials say these talks are crucial to ending military operations and moving toward a political track in resolving the conflict.

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by: David Diambo from: N. Carolina
November 22, 2012 2:54 AM
Don't waste time - You can not ignore and persecute people as you want for decades and think that this will go on for ever. People of Eastern DRC who have suffered at the hands of every administration and army plus the FDRL have now grown to find a solution to their problems. Many Congolese know this truth that their fellow Congolese who speak Kinyarwanda are part of their society. Whoever cut the border on them to leave them on the Congolese territory brought the curse. Resolve that and get peace. DD

by: ME from: HOME
November 21, 2012 4:50 PM
The MONUSCO, UN, Rwanda, Britain and the USA have been supporting this war for over a decade. Who are they kidding? 8 Million people dead yet the rest of the world pretends it is not happening. Why will you journalists do your job properly, name and shame the likes of Bill Clinton for starting this war of minerals in the first place?
In Response

by: David from: Washington DC
November 21, 2012 9:14 PM
Our wealth mineral, & petroleum are transporting or looting to East Africa and South Africa which it creates jobs, build infrastructure, and others opportunities in these zones while Congo stays in starvation, no jobs, no infrastructure…etc. I suggest the WordBank, IMF, the USA..etc helped Congo to build pipe line and rail road from Eastern to Western of Congo in terminal port Banana which it will help Congo to control import & export of minerals, petroleum and gas methane and create jobs for Congolese. Stop over spending on MONUSCO which it is not help us to grow.

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