News / Africa

M23 Rebels Clash with DRC Troops

Democratic Republic of the CongoDemocratic Republic of the Congo
x
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nick Long
Heavy fighting has broken out in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo between the Congolese army and the rebel group M23.  Both sides accuse each other of launching attacks, which bring to an end an unofficial truce that's lasted for nearly three months.  
 
DRC’s Information Minister Lambert Mende said the fighting started early on Thursday with an attack by the M23 on a Congolese army, or FARDC position at Kibumba, some 30 kilometers north of Goma, capital of North Kivu province.
 
"They tried to make a move towards Goma but they were stopped by FARDC troops," Mende said.  "They had lost six people by midday.  It seems this was a large action because they came from various directions, but the FARDC with the assistance of MONUSCO managed to repulse them."  
 
MONUSCO is the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC.
 
The M23 denies that it started the fighting.  Its spokesman Vianney Kazarama told VOA that the government forces launched attacks beginning at 5 a.m. on the southern front near Goma, and on three other fronts, including near the town of Kiwanja, 90 kilometers north of Goma.
 
He said the M23 condemns the breach of a truce which regional countries had asked for.
 
M23 defeated the army and captured territory in Congo's North Kivu province in battles earlier this year.

There has been an effective ceasefire on the main front lines for nearly three months, but during that time the M23 has carried out some small-scale raids on army bases in the neighboring territory of Masisi.
 
The resumption of hostilities coincides with the release of this year’s final report by the U.N. Group of Experts on the Congo, which repeats the accusations from an earlier report that senior Rwandan officials have been backing the rebels, providing them with arms and recruits, and sometimes direct support by Rwandan army units.

The new report also accuses named individuals in Uganda of supporting the M23.
 
Mende said the latest fighting might be "a desperate reaction" to the U.N. experts' report.  
 
"I think they are putting pressure on the military delegation from the Great Lakes countries which has gathered in Goma so that they might not continue with their plan to deploy a neutral force," Mende said.  
 
Army officers from 11 regional countries are in Goma to finalize a plan for deploying a force of 4,000 troops along the DRC-Rwanda border.  The plan was agreed in principle in June but since then, regional leaders have failed to agree on how it should be put into effect.
 
The U.N. experts report may also have prompted a reaction from Uganda.  On Wednesday the Ugandan government closed a border crossing next to Bunagana, the small town where the M23 has its headquarters.
 
Mende told VOA the DRC welcomed the closure, and accused the M23 of taxing the traffic crossing the border at Bunagana.  But he said Kinshasa expected more from the Ugandan government.  
 
"What we are expecting from our colleagues in Uganda is a position, a very clear position against these Ugandan citizens named in the U.N. experts’ report as financing and sponsoring the M23," Mende said.  "We need Uganda to take strong measures against them so as to show that this was not an aggression from the government of Uganda as such, but maybe criminal individuals that are acting on their own behalf. That is what we are waiting for from Uganda.
 
Both the Rwanda and Uganda have strongly denied the accusations that they are supporting M23.  Uganda has threatened to pull its soldiers from international peacekeeping missions unless the U.N. withdraws the allegations.

In their latest report, the experts say they have taken into account the denials by the two governments.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid