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

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