News / Africa

M23 Rebels Clash with DRC Troops

Democratic Republic of the CongoDemocratic Republic of the Congo
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

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs