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)
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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid