News / Africa

M23 Rebels Withdraws From Eastern DRC Town

A M23 rebel fighter stands guard as they prepare for withdrawal from Karuba, some 62 kilometers west of Goma, DRC, November 28, 2012.
A M23 rebel fighter stands guard as they prepare for withdrawal from Karuba, some 62 kilometers west of Goma, DRC, November 28, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
The M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo appear to be withdrawing from territory they seized last week around the city of Goma.  The rebels say they are pulling back to make way for political negotiations in accordance with a deal struck with the Congolese government.

With their weapons and gear slung over their shoulders, hundreds of M23 soldiers marched down from the hills through the town of Sake Friday as they prepared to withdraw from the city.

The rebels took control of Sake and the city of Goma more than a week ago, following fierce battles with U.N.-backed Congolese forces.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Now they are pulling back, as part of an agreement with Congolese President Joseph Kabila orchestrated by the leaders of the Great Lakes Region who met in Uganda last weekend.

"We are now in a process of withdrawing, and this process began on Wednesday morning and it continues until now," said Bertrand Bisimwa, the political spokesman for M23.  "We can't say that we'll finish today or tomorrow, it's a process.  The important thing to do is to begin it.  And we began it.  Let it continue, please."

M23 soldiers defected from the Congolese army in April in a dispute over a 2009 peace agreement integrating rebels into the military.

As the rebels have taken control of more territory in eastern Congo, they have added to their list of demands to include the release of political prisoners and greater dialogue with the opposition.  They also say President Kabila's re-election last year was illegitimate.

Bisimwa says M23 hopes the soldiers' withdrawal will bring the president to the negotiating table to hear these demands.  

"We don't have any proof that Kabila will accept to negotiate with us," Bisimwa added.  "But we say this - if to withdraw from Goma is the price we have to pay, we have to pay it.  And we are paying it now."

A joint verification team from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is currently in Goma meeting with M23 leaders to facilitate the drawdown and the return of government forces.

Earlier in the day, 270 Congolese police who fled to the town of Bukavu during M23's advance arrived at the port of Goma on Lake Kivu, waiting for permission to deploy into the city.

Meantime, Goma's residents remain on edge. Many shops were closed Friday in the city, since M23 rebels have looted homes and businesses in the past few days.  The Congolese army was also accused of similar abuses when its forces retreated from the city.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
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 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 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 US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
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 Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs