News / Africa

DRC Troops Retake Territory Left by Rebels

FILE - Congolese soldiers patrol the town of Rutshuru in eastern Congo, January 28, 2009. FILE - Congolese soldiers patrol the town of Rutshuru in eastern Congo, January 28, 2009.
x
FILE - Congolese soldiers patrol the town of Rutshuru in eastern Congo, January 28, 2009.
FILE - Congolese soldiers patrol the town of Rutshuru in eastern Congo, January 28, 2009.
Reuters
Congolese government troops have re-occupied eastern towns for the first time in eight months after rebels weakened by an internal power struggle withdrew and turned their weapons on each other.

The advance is the first significant progress by Congo's army since a series of defeats last year, but raises fears of fresh clashes with M23 fighters who are intent on reclaiming the same areas after peace talks stalled.

Government troops moved into the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja on Friday night to protect the population from bandits and armed groups who had taken advantage of the M23 rebel pullout to prey on civilians, a spokesman for the army said.

"Since last night, those areas are under government control. [M23] left those areas and it is for us, the regular forces to take our responsibilities and secure them... against the pillaging, rape and killings,'' Colonel Olivier Hamuli told Reuters by telephone.

Hamuli said there were no immediate plans to move against nearby M23 positions but the rebels accused the government of "pure provocation'' and said their forces were en route to re-occupy the same zones.

"There is a risk [of clashes] because the government has left its positions and come to provoke us. M23 warns Kinshasa and the international community that anything that happens now is the government's responsibility,'' said Colonel Vianney Kazarama, M23 spokesman.

Eastern Congo has been ravaged by war and banditry for two decades, leaving millions dead through violence and disease. Civilians are regularly caught in the crossfire between armed groups and the country's notoriously ill-disciplined army.

Power struggle

Until internal divisions manifested themselves this week in violent clashes between different factions, M23 controlled vast swathes of territory and last November briefly seized Goma, capital of North Kivu province.

FILE - Indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda poses for a photograph during an interview in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 5, 2010.FILE - Indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda poses for a photograph during an interview in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 5, 2010.
x
FILE - Indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda poses for a photograph during an interview in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 5, 2010.
FILE - Indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda poses for a photograph during an interview in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, October 5, 2010.
The split reflects a power struggle between the group's military high command and the renegade general Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Ntaganda defected from the Congolese army to M23 last April, taking hundreds of fighters with him and helping fuel the eastern rebellion.

In a separate communique late on Friday, M23 said Ntaganda and the movement's ousted political head were hiding in the dense forests of Virunga National Park after a failed attack on M23 positions.

"Firm and precise instructions have been given to our forces to capture [them] so that they can answer for their acts,'' said the communique, signed by M23's military commander Sultani Makenga.

A spokesman for the faction loyal to Ntaganda, Colonel Seraphin Mirindi, denied they had fled into the forest, saying they were just north of Goma. He also accused Makenga of planning a deal with the Congolese army, something Kinshasa has repeatedly said it would not consider.

"If they're going to make an alliance and attack us we will defend ourselves, and we know how to do that, we're used to it,'' he added.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid