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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs