News / Africa

DRC Rebels Threaten March on Goma ‘to Save Population’

Nick Long

Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they’re ready to seize Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, in order to "save the population" from an upsurge of violence. 

A spokesman for the M23 rebel movement, Vianney Kazarama, said Monday that if Congo’s President Joseph Kabila cannot control his army, the M23 will move in and take Goma to save civilian lives. 

His threat comes after a week in which at least 10 people in Goma have been killed in a series of shootings and an explosion for which no one has taken responsibility. Rebels are blaming the military for the violence. Authorities in Goma and some civil society groups allege that the M23 is responsible.

The rebels’ front line positions are less than 50 kilometers from Goma, but several thousand regular army troops and a brigade of U.N. peacekeepers with tanks and armored vehicles stand in the way of the M23, whose forces are thought to number fewer than 1,500.

Twenty people have been arrested in connection with the killings, including some soldiers. Faustin Ntibategerra, a researcher who has worked for Human Rights Watch, says he thinks the M23 is connected to the deaths.

He told VOA that as the M23 consists of defectors from the army, the group might have sympathizers still in the army whom the M23 might have ordered to carry out these killings. 

Congo's Interior Minister Richard Muyej visited Goma recently and spoke of an ‘over-militarization’ of the town, as a result of the M23 rebellion, and of lax discipline in the security services. 

Ntibategerra says no reason has been given for that lax discipline.

He said that despite the interior minister talking about 'over-militarization,' the problem is poor government support for the military, whose members are not fed or paid properly, and whose wives and children have to beg in the street.  It would hardly be surprising, he said, if some soldiers collaborated with bandits to make enough money to survive.

Ntibategerra says the victims of the recent violence were just ordinary people, none of them well-known except for the owner of a gasoline station who was shot dead at night outside his home. 

The researcher says some of the victims of the recent violence may have been targeted at random by people who just want to spread fear. The victims include a soldier and a bar owner who were both shot dead at her bar, and several people killed in a grenade blast, including the soldier thought to have been carrying the grenade.

The United Nations military mission to Congo has warned the M23 that it will take all measures necessary to stop any attempt to take Goma.

U.N. Security Council officials have alleged that Rwanda is supporting the M23 rebels, but Rwanda denies the charge. 

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

update At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Matthew C.George from: Providence,Rhode Island
October 03, 2012 4:04 PM
The United Nation security Councle need to send a clear message to the Rwandaian government.What happening in DRC is terriable.M23 using young girls as sex slaves.The Rwandaian government should stop supporting the M23.If the Rwandain government continues supporting M23,the security councle should impose section on Rwandaian government.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
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 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 Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
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