News / Africa

    DRC Rebels Looting Before Goma Withdrawal

    People displaced by recent fighting in eastern Congo wait to receive aid food in Mugunga IDP camp outside of Goma, November 24, 2012. People displaced by recent fighting in eastern Congo wait to receive aid food in Mugunga IDP camp outside of Goma, November 24, 2012.
    x
    People displaced by recent fighting in eastern Congo wait to receive aid food in Mugunga IDP camp outside of Goma, November 24, 2012.
    People displaced by recent fighting in eastern Congo wait to receive aid food in Mugunga IDP camp outside of Goma, November 24, 2012.
    Gabe Joselow
    Residents of the town of Sake in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo say M23 rebel soldiers have been looting homes and extorting money from businesses as they prepare to withdraw from the area.  

    On a side street in the town of Sake, out of sight from the M23 soldiers guarding the checkpoint out of town, a group of residents complain about roving gangs of rebels who ransacked the town overnight.

    One resident, who declined to give his name, points to two shattered window panes on his home, which he says the soldiers broke with their rifles as his family was eating dinner.

    “They entered in our house at one in the morning,” he says.  “They took our money, the mattress, a telephone.  They looted everything.  In the morning, we couldn't find them.”

    At the main intersection in town, truck drivers stand idly by their vehicles.  They say the rebels have demanded they pay $320 to leave town, and they cannot go anywhere until they get the money.

    An outdoor market is nearly deserted as shopkeepers say M23 is extorting money from them as well.  Emmanuel sells soap, candy and a few other small items at one of the few open stalls, but does not think he will make enough to pay the rebels off.

    “Now they come and ask us to pay $50 for the small things we are selling,” he says.  “Where are we going to find this money?  It's better to take all of our items because we do not have this money.”

    The rebels seized control of the town last week after heavy fighting with the Congolese armed forces.

    But now, as part of an agreement reached between the M23 and the Congolese government, the rebels are preparing to pull out of Sake and the nearby city of Goma.

    Rebels were seen moving equipment in and around Goma, though the actual retreat is expected to take place Friday.

    Congolese forces, known as FARDC, are set to take back control of Sake and Goma after the rebel withdraw, which could bring more problems.

    Congolese soldiers also looted Sake on their retreat from the town, and abuses have also been reported in Minova where the army has been consolidating.

    A Sake resident who gave his name as Amani says he will still welcome FARDC's return to the city.

    “Yes, it's better because we have already lived with them.  But (M23), they always come here to intimidate us, they take everything and tell us what to do, they treat us like slaves,” said Amani.

    A recent report from the aid group Oxfam describes an unprecedented level of financial exploitation of communities caught up in the recent conflict in eastern Congo.

    Oxfam says civilians are increasingly becoming “commodities of war,” fought over by armed groups, including the army, as a way to raise money.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora