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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells California Republican Convention delegates the campaign will be 'a battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of the June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora