News / Africa

Congo Rebellion Threatens Ties with Rwanda

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, October 26, 2011.Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, October 26, 2011.
x
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, October 26, 2011.
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, October 26, 2011.
Gabe Joselow
NAIROBI - Accusations that Rwanda is supporting a rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are raising tensions between the two nations. Rwanda denies any involvement in Congolese affairs.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame, speaking at a news conference in Kigali Tuesday, told reporters Rwanda has nothing to do with the rebellion that began in North Kivu province in April. "I have simply, and this [means] Rwanda, has simply no responsibility for it. Somebody else has responsibility for it,” he said.

Kagame's remarks followed a slew of allegations that Rwanda is funding, arming and feeding a group of rebel soldiers who defected from the Congolese army in April.

On Monday, Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende told the Reuters news agency that Rwanda is trying to block a United Nations Group of Experts report verifying the claims.

A report from Human Rights Watch released last month also documented evidence of Rwandan support.

Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa Director for International Crisis Group, said the war of words is threatening to undermine progress the two countries have made repairing their historically rocky relationship.

“There was definitely a normalization process that was going on between the two countries that's been going on since, I would say, 2009 and the last Goma crisis,"Vircoulon said. "But this normalization process if of course now jeopardized and the relations are getting tense.”

In 2009, Kigali and Kinshasa restored diplomatic ties that had been severed since 1996, when Rwandan forces entered Congo in pursuit of Hutu extremists who had taken part in the Rwandan genocide.

The current rebellion in North Kivu has been perpetrated by soldiers aligned with a former rebel group known as the CNDP.

The soldiers were integrated into the Congolese national army as part of a 2009 peace deal, but defected as pressure mounted on the government to arrest former rebel-turned-general Bosco Ntaganda on an International Criminal Court warrant.

Vircoulon said he cannot confirm the mutineers are receiving support from Rwanda, but said their ability to sustain their rebellion this long is suspicious.

"Apparently the mutineers, who are only 200 or 300 people, are able to push back several thousand Congolese soldiers," said Vircoulon. "So from a purely military point of view, I wonder how they can do that without support coming from somewhere.”

The U.N. Security Council last week said it would support an investigation into reports that the group is receiving outside assistance.

You May Like

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs