News / Africa

DRC Rebels Deny Their Leader Has Been Wounded

M23 military leader General Sultani Makenga (2012 photo)
M23 military leader General Sultani Makenga (2012 photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Nick Long
— The Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebel movement has denied reports that its military commander, Sultani Makenga, has been badly wounded.  An M23 spokesman also rejected a call from the United Nations mission in Congo for the movement to dismantle its administration, including a proposed law court.  

A rumor that Sultani Makenga was ambushed and seriously wounded began to circulate in Goma early this week.

An M23 spokesman, Kabasha Amani, said Thursday the rumor is false.  He said a journalist from the Reuters news agency was with Makenga at a ceremony to mark the Day of the African Child on Sunday and saw that he is in good health.

But a Congolese newspaper, L’Avenir, reported  that Makenga was ambushed and wounded on Monday, a day after that ceremony, and immediately rushed to the Nsambya Hospital in Uganda. From there, it says, he was transferred to another unidentified facility.  
Amani said he was unaware of this report and dismissed it as a joke.  He said Congo is a country of rumors and Makenga has been "killed" and "resuscitated" three times in the Congolese media.

It is true there have been similar reports in the past, and if there was panic in M23 territory as L’Avenir reports, it was not very evident Thursday during a visit to a village inside the rebel zone.

Local people were not willing to comment on the rumor of an attack on Makenga, but did respond cautiously to questions about the possible fate of 11 young men detained by M23 in connection with another alleged ambush.

A man who preferred to withhold his name said he thinks happens to suspects detained by M23.

He says there are those they arrest and take away, and some of them are killed.  Normally they are put on trial, he continues, and some of them are freed.

M23 spokesman Amani denied reports of M23 killing civilians. The head of the U.N. mission in Congo, Roger Meece, said this week he was troubled by the M23’s recent announcement that it would put the 11 defendants on trial.

Meece said the accused could not be guaranteed a fair trial under the circumstances, and he called on the M23 to dismantle what he called its illegitimate parallel administration.
An M23 combatant, Innocent Tchubahiro confirmed the movement has its own police force.

The government police fled the area, he says, and other police came who are with the M23.

The U.N. mission, MONUSCO, reports that there are no qualified magistrates in M23’s territory, but rebel spokesmen deny this.  Amani said the movement has trained its own criminal investigators and intends to combat impunity and defend human rights, which it can only do by putting suspects on trial.

The combatant Tchubahiro dismissed the suggestion that the M23 should close down its administration.

"That’s impossible," he says.  "Wherever there are authorities and people under them, there has to be an administration," he explains.

Tchubahiro said the M23 has not imposed new taxes on ordinary people, but is levying tolls on traffic passing through the territory.

Those tolls are heavy, according to truck drivers like Kambale Kahanirwa, who was waiting at a checkpoint near Goma.

"I’ve driven 180 kilometers from Kanyabayonga," he says, "and the journey has taken three days because of all the shakedowns along the way."

He and other truck drivers said many checkpoints on that route are manned by the M23, other militias and the government army, but the M23 gets most of the tolls.

"The M23 charged me $350 for this load of cassava," he says, "and with the other checkpoints the tolls come to about $500 total."

His load might have been worth about $3,300.

The combatant Tchubahiro said the tolls pay his wages.

Tchubahiro was asked if he could comment on the rumors that his commander had been badly wounded in an ambush by a pro-government militia.

“Ah, now the interview is getting complicated,” he said, and walked away.

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

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.
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