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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More