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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid