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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid