News / Africa

UN Concerned DRC Rebels Get Support From Rwanda

A picture taken on June 3, 2012 shows rebels of the armed force known as M23 patrolling on the hill of Kavumu in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).A picture taken on June 3, 2012 shows rebels of the armed force known as M23 patrolling on the hill of Kavumu in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
x
A picture taken on June 3, 2012 shows rebels of the armed force known as M23 patrolling on the hill of Kavumu in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
A picture taken on June 3, 2012 shows rebels of the armed force known as M23 patrolling on the hill of Kavumu in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Nick Long
KINSHASA — The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, says it is seeing more signs that the rebel M23 movement is getting support from Rwanda.  The head of the mission has called for all such support to stop immediately.

The U.N.’s special representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Roger Meece, who’s in charge of the U.N. mission here, says it is clear that the M23 rebel forces are much stronger than anyone thought a few weeks ago.

"The M23 forces appear to be very well equipped, well provisioned with significant arms.  We’ve already seen reports of support coming from outside the country - notably Rwanda.  It’s very important that all external support stop immediately," he said

Speaking to journalists in Kinshasa on Tuesday, the special representative added that the U.N. mission has seen additional signs in recent days, beyond what’s already been reported by the U.N. Group of Experts on the Congo, indicating Rwandan support for the M23.

He cited indications such as that M23 soldiers have been seen wearing different uniforms and different equipment from the Congolese army uniforms and equipment they would have had before they mutinied.

He said they were also using more sophisticated tactics than the Congolese army normally uses, such as night attacks.  

The M23 have declared they are pulling back from Rutshuru, a town in eastern Congo which they occupied at the weekend, to the strategic border town of Bunagana, which they captured after heavy fighting on Friday.

Meece said the U.N. is trying to verify this declaration.

"We have seen what appears to be an evacuation of the combatants or a removal of the combatants from the town of Rutshuru. But we are taking active measures, including reconnaisance flights, and any information that we can get to determine exacthly what they are doing, to verify whether it is in fact toward Bunagana or whether it might be something else," Meece said.

Meece added that the U.N. is taking all necessary measures, including deploying armored units, in cooperation with the Congolese army, to protect the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma, and other major population centers in the area.

The M23 started as a mutiny among certain units of the Congolese army in April.

The special representative said the mutiny has worsened inter-community tensions in eastern Congo. He noted reports of violence against members of the Tutsi community in Goma, as well as reports that civilians in Goma have been asking the authorities to give them weapons.

He suggested this was a worrying development.

"The recourse to arms, by anyone at all, does not represent a solution to the problems. And it is always the civilian population that suffers the most," Meece said.

Meece confirmed that the U.N. has been using helicopters for aerial bombardment of M23 positions and said this was done to protect civilians from further rebel advances.

He said he was not aware of any active negotiations going on between the M23 and the DRC government at the moment.  He said the U.N. would be ready - with the agreement of the DRC government - to facilitate negotiations.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
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 Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs