News / Africa

DRC Rebels Advance in North Kivu Province

M23 rebel fighters guard the venue of a news conference by political leader Jean-Marie Runiga in north Kivu province near the border with Uganda, July 21, 2012.
M23 rebel fighters guard the venue of a news conference by political leader Jean-Marie Runiga in north Kivu province near the border with Uganda, July 21, 2012.
Nick Long
KINSHASA — The M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has defeated the government army in another series of clashes. The rebels were reported Thursday to be less than 30 kilometers from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

The M23 and the army were fighting since Monday for control of Rutshuru, a town on the border with Rwanda about 70 kilometers north of Goma. Media and local observers report that the Congolese army lost control of Rutshuru on Wednesday and the M23 has since reached as far as Kibumba, only 27 kilometers from Goma.

According to analysts at the International Crisis Group, the rebels say the government army started the latest round of fighting on Monday.

"There was another clash between the M23 and the Congolese army on Monday.  As far as I understand the Congolese army was trying to get back to Rutshuru," explained Thierry Vircoulon, the main DR Congo analyst at the Crisis Group. "They lost again and they were forced to retreat.  The M23 is saying that they have been attacked and so they just counter-attacked."

The United Nations mission in Congo, MONUSCO, said Wednesday it was concentrating on its main task of protecting civilians.  Local sources told VOA that many civilians from Rutshuru have fled to a MONUSCO base at Kiwanja for protection.

Vircoulon said the M23 clearly wants to keep effective control of Rutshuru, although it withdrew its visible units from the town two weeks ago. The town is on a key strategic road.

"It is basically the commercial road from Goma to Uganda, so it’s an important supply road, and that’s why the M23 considers that this territory is so important," Vircoulon added.

The International Crisis Group predicts that M23 may not in fact plan to attack Goma, as this might involve a head-on clash with MONUSCO and would certainly cause a huge international outcry.   

Vircoulon commented that the M23 numbers perhaps 3,000 fighters and is heavily outnumbered by the Congolese army.  But he says the Congolese army is not really an army, more a collection of units from former armies and militias which have never been properly integrated.

Civil society sources in Goma reported on Wednesday that the M23 has been reinforced by a battalion of the Ugandan army. 

"It seems to me a bit unlikely," Vircoulon said, "because of the traditional rivalry between Kampala and Kigali. Uganda has reinforced the border security, that’s for sure, but I have no report that they have actually crossed the border.  And I have no report that they are supportive of the M23."

The International Crisis Group says disorder has also been spreading in other parts of North and South Kivu.  Vircoulon says the fighting between the M23 and the Congolese army has diverted attention from massacres allegedly carried out by a new Congolese armed group, Rahiya Motomboki.

You May Like

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid