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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid