News / Africa

    Congo Rebels Pledge to Leave Goma By Friday

    M23 rebels patrol around Congo's Central Bank in Goma, eastern Congo, November 26, 2012.
    M23 rebels patrol around Congo's Central Bank in Goma, eastern Congo, November 26, 2012.
    Gabe Joselow
    The political chief of Congolese rebel group M23 says his forces will leave the captured city of Goma by Friday as a sign of good will, even if the government has not addressed their grievances.

    The rebels seized the eastern city last week and have since taken the town of Sake to the west.

    Jean-Marie Runiga of M23 told VOA News Tuesday that if regional leaders think the departure will help bring peace, then they will do so by the end of the week. Runiga said even if M23 withdraws it does not mean the group will back down on its demands for foreign groups and the Congolese army to leave the region.

    Earlier Tuesday, Rene Abandi, M23's director of external relations, told VOA the group's military chief had promised that his forces would leave Goma as soon as possible, after a meeting with the army chiefs of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

    Regional leaders, including DRC President Joseph Kabila, had demanded that M23 pull out of Goma by the end of Monday.  



    A week after the M23 rebels took control of Goma with little resistance from the Congolese army, the group's president, Jean-Marie Runiga, said they are now willing to withdraw their military force.

    But, as he told reporters Tuesday in the city, they still want Kabila to meets their demands, which includes the release of political prisoners and a national dialogue with the opposition.

    Who Are the M23 Rebels?

    • Named for March 23, the date of a 2009 peace deal
    • Contains fighters once loyal to a rebel army who assimilated into the DRC army, then defected
    • Formed in early 2012
    • Dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group
    • Also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army
    • UN experts say the group is backed by Rwanda, which Rwanda denies
    “A retreat, yes,” he said, “but there are some conditions and if Mr. Kabila respects these conditions we will retreat.”

    The rebels have been sending mixed signals about whether they really intend to leave the city.

    Earlier in the day, the head of external relations for M23, Rene Amandi said the rebels would withdraw as soon as possible to demonstrate their willingness to negotiate with Kinshasa.

    The Ugandan military, which has been organizing talks between M23 and the Congolese government, also had a different impression of the agreement. Uganda's defense chief, General Aronda Nyakairima, told reporters Tuesday in Kampala the rebels had agreed to begin the withdrawal Tuesday with “no conditions.”

    • M23 leader Jean-Marie Runiga arrives to address media in Goma, DRC, November 27, 2012.
    • A boy carries a goat along a road near the town of Sake, 27 kilometers west of Goma, DRC, November 27, 2012.
    • A woman carries her child in Minova, 45 kilometers west of Goma, DRC, November 26, 2012.
    • The South Africa contingent of the U.N. peacekeepers in Congo erect a razor wire barrier around Goma airport, DRC, November 26, 2012.
    • Congolese army soldiers sit in a military truck in Minova, 45 kilometers west of Goma, DRC, November 26, 2012.
    • M23 rebels patrol around Congo's Central Bank in Goma, DRC, November 26, 2012.
    • With IDP camps filling up since the rebellion in eastern Congo began in April, newly displaced people are sleeping in churches until they can find a place to settle, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow/VOA)
    • Displaced people from the town of Sake gather at the Mugunga camp on the road to Goma, DRC, November 23, 2012. (G. Joselow.VOA)
    • Families flee fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels in the town of Sake, DRC, November 23, 2012. G. Joselow/VOA)

    Meantime, Runiga, who just returned from talks with Kabila in Kampala, indicated the rebels remain prepared to fight if government forces launch an offensive against them.

    “It is not the aim of the men of M23 to attack,” he said, “but if we are attacked, we reserve the right to respond and defend ourselves.”

    African leaders at the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region over the weekend gave M23 48 hours to withdraw from Goma, a deadline that passed Monday.

    The United Nations and the U.S. State Department also have called on the rebels to leave the city.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Janey Baby Le Stryker from: East Helsinki
    November 28, 2012 7:37 AM
    How well does the leader of the DRC work with the real LRA'S El Tigre? I ask because El Tigre's work is in conjunction with Doctor's Without Borders and for some reason I feel this tension is due to cartel issues rather than "control" of certain areas. El Tigre needs to be allowed to maintain because of the amount of man made viruses that keep popping up via the CIA & Gestapo agencies. Personally I wish El Tigre could come for a visit and perhaps find himself a little house and get "Out of Africa". Has the EuroFranco M16 infiltrated because someone thinks there is oil in Africa? It will be only another Texas or even less, Africa's geological land mass doesn't really cry oil to me. Never trust the French especially Franco Italianos who are in reality French Nazi Regime.

    by: David from: Washington DC
    November 27, 2012 10:52 AM
    Kabila, UN and M23 are manipulated this crisis, they betray and sabotage DRC sovereignty while 8 millions of Congolese innocent died, multinational companies increases theirs profit by trafficking or looting blood mineral from Congo via Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Anyway, I suggest the USA, UK, Belgium and others to review theirs foreign policy toward former Zaire. The future of DRC and multinational companies depend on rail road and pipe line from Eastern to Western Congo in terminal port Banana to control import & export, a new leadership and Army. We need help from World Bank, IMF and community international to rebuild this country.

    by: hane from: dakar
    November 27, 2012 7:45 AM
    always africa, war is in africa, poor is africa, disease is africa, when african can dream another africa

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora