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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid