News / Africa

M23 Rebels Enter Eastern Congo City

People flee as fighting erupts between the M23 rebels and Congolese army near the airport in Goma, November 19, 2012.
People flee as fighting erupts between the M23 rebels and Congolese army near the airport in Goma, November 19, 2012.
Nick Long
The rebel group M23 has entered the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, continuing their advance against government and United Nations troops. The rebels say they have taken the airport and witnesses say they are near the city center.
 
After days of fighting, M23 rebels have succeeded in their drive against the Congolese army and U.N. peacekeepers and advanced into the capital of North Kivu province.
 
While the exact situation in Goma is fluid, all accounts say that the rebels are gaining ground.

Democratic Republic of the CongoDemocratic Republic of the Congo
x
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
M23 making advances

Some residents and several journalists confirm M23’s claim to have taken the airport, on the eastern side of the town. Journalists say the rebels also have captured one of the two main border crossings from Goma to Rwanda, also on the eastern side of town.
 
Congo analyst Thierry Vircoulon of the International Crisis Group said the situation is taking a dire turn for the worse.
 
“My feeling is that the city is about to fall and we’ll know that during the course of the day, that’s for sure," said Vircoulon. "And there have been exchanges of fire between Rwanda and the DRC, which means we may not be very far from an open conflict between the two countries.”
 
U.N. radio in the DRC, Radio Okapi, reports that mortar rounds apparently fired from Rwanda killed four people Monday in Goma and wounded several others.

  • A Congolese Revolution Army rebel, wearing a belt of ammunition, walks down a street in Goma, DRC, soon after the rebels captured the city from the government army, November 20, 2012.
  • A United Nations helicopter flies over Lake Kivu as M23 rebels walk along the shore in the city of Goma, November 20, 2012.
  • People flee as fighting erupts between the M23 rebels and Congolese army near the airport in Goma, DRC, November 19, 2012.
  • A student from the Architecture and Urbanism institute holds a sign protesting against civil unrest outside of their university in Kinshasa. The sign reads: "Too much is too much. What do you want with the Congo."
  • A United Nations armored personnel carrier patrols through the city of Goma following the sound of shell fire and gunshots, November 19, 2012.
  • Congolese Revolution Army rebels walk down a street in Goma, soon after capturing the city from the government army, November 20, 2012.

 
DRC government accuses Rwanda


Tuesday’s fighting comes after the government refused a rebel demand to negotiate, saying it would be pointless without involving Rwanda.  The DRC accuses of Rwanda of providing arms and troops in support of M23 - allegations that Kigali continually has denied.
 
DRC M23 Rebels:

  • M23 fighters were once loyal to a rebel army that assimilated into the national army of Congo in a 2009 peace deal
  • Hundreds of former rebel army members mutinied earlier this year, complaining that the government had not fulfilled promises of better pay and weapons
  • From the mutineers, the M23 - named for the March 23, 2009 peace deal - emerged
  • A U.N. report said there are indications the rebels are getting outside aid. U.N. experts say Rwanda and Uganda are backing M23. Both Countries deny this
  • The U.N. Security Council is considering sanctions on M23 leaders and has demanded an end to "all outside support" of the group
  • Experts say a driving force behind the regional conflict are deposits of tin, gold, tungsten, and coltan, a mineral used in laptops and mobile phones in eastern Congo, where M23 operates
There are signs the escalating violence is causing problems for the Congolese government.
 
A leading opposition politician, Vital Kamehre - who came third in the presidential elections last year - has called on DRC President Joseph Kabila to negotiate with M23 to end the conflict and threats to the civilian population.

Opposition calls for negotiations

Up until now, the DRC’s opposition parties generally have agreed with the government’s position of rejecting talks with the rebels.
 
Goma was effectively controlled by a rebel movement until 2004, when the rebels were loosely integrated into the Congolese army. Most members of M32 are former soldiers who defected in April, claiming discrimination and poor treatment by the government.  

The DRC and Rwanda have fought several wars - the last one during the Congolese civil war, which ended in 2003.
 
International concern is growing, with France preparing a draft resolution to slap sanctions on the rebels and possibly any elements supporting them. It could be adopted as early as this week.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Malkus from: Phoenix, AZ
November 20, 2012 1:56 PM
I wonder why things like this don't fill the news and cause mass outrage across the USA. Murder, child rape, child soldiers, but people would rather have riots because they think rich people should give them more money that they worked for. Pathetic.


by: Shane
November 20, 2012 11:08 AM
What country from the UN is currently in Congo?


by: Samuel Clark from: Kigali
November 20, 2012 10:25 AM
Strange how in this article Rwanda is portrayed as the aggressor when this is actual report from US Embassy today: The U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens to reports of three deaths
resulting from the November 19 artillery fire into the Rubavu district
of Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
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.

AppleAndroid