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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs