News / Africa

DRC Rebels Vow to Overthrow Government

The M23 rebels spokesman Vianney Kazarama (L) speaks to the crowd gathered at a stadium in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 21, 2012.
The M23 rebels spokesman Vianney Kazarama (L) speaks to the crowd gathered at a stadium in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 21, 2012.
VOA News
Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have vowed to seize more territory and topple President Joseph Kabila.

The M23 rebels held a rally Wednesday at a stadium in the eastern city of Goma, which they captured a day earlier. Rebel spokesman Vianny Kazarama said the rebels plan to keep on moving.

"President Kabila brought war planes and big guns, but he was unable to defeat us," he said. "That is a clear sign that we are part of God's plan; we were sent by God and this will not end here," said Kazarama.

Who Are the M23 Rebels?

  • Named for March 23, the date of a 2009 peace deal
  • Contains fighters once loyal to a rebel army who assimilated into the DRC army, then defected
  • Formed in early 2012
  • Dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group
  • Also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army
  • UN experts say the group is backed by Rwanda, which Rwanda denies
Hundreds of Congolese police and troops surrendered their weapons at the rally.

Kazarama said the rebels' next goal is Bukavu, 100 kilometers to the south. He said the group already controls the town of Sake, also south of Goma, and plans to eventually reach Kinshasa, the capital, more than 1,500 kilometers to the west.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to impose sanctions against M23 leaders. The French-sponsored resolution demands that the rebels immediately pull out of Goma, located on the Rwandan border, and condemns all foreign support for the group.

The DRC and U.N. experts accuse Rwanda of supporting M23 - a charge Rwanda denies.

Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame met late Tuesday and again Wednesday in Uganda's capital, Kampala.  

  • M23 rebels guard weapons given to them by the government's army, Goma, DRC, November 21, 2012.
  • A Congo government policeman hands in his weapon to M23 rebels during an M23 rally in Goma, DRC, November 21, 2012.
  • Congo government policemen, foreground, and civilians gather during a M23 rally in Goma, Congo, November 21, 2012.
  • A M23 fighter, wearing a belt of ammunition, walks down a street in Goma, after the rebels captured the city from the government army, November 20, 2012.
  • People walk the streets of Goma, DRC during a lull in the fighting, November 20, 2012. (VOA 100 Citoyens journalistes de RD Congo)
  • M23 rebels in the streets of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
  • M23 rebels enter Goma, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
  • M23 rebels celebrating their takeover of Goma, DRC, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
  • M23 spokesperson Lt. Col. Vianney Kazarama entering Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
  • M23 Rebels patrolling in Goma, DRC, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)

Congolese leaders have refused to hold direct talks with the rebels unless Rwanda is included.

On Tuesday, M23 fighters seized Goma with no resistance, after Congolese troops fled and 1,500 U.N. peacekeepers stood by.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday it is "absurd" that there are 17,000 peacekeepers in all of Congo and they could not stop several hundred men. He called for a review of the peacekeepers' mandate.

The U.N. says about one million people are in Goma, many of them displaced from other areas by earlier fighting between the army and M23. The city is the capital of mineral-rich North Kivu province, where the government and U.N. peacekeepers have tried to subdue local rebel and militia groups for years.

Watch related video of rebels and negotiations between DRC, Rwanda officials

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Souleymane Belem from: Ouagadougou
November 21, 2012 1:41 PM
Why are these people straight to condamn rebellion in Congo and don't seem to understand that more importantly, they should do the same in Siria ?

by: mo from: world
November 21, 2012 8:01 AM
Shame on you Fabius, winning a war does not depends on number of fighters but the reasons and motivation why they are fighting. M23 are fighting for themselves, their families in refugees camps for many years above that, fight the arrogance of the Government of Congo. I wish sustainable peace of DRC which will be based on unity, talks and good governance.

by: SNabende from: Kampala
November 21, 2012 6:48 AM
While talks are welcome it should not be lost on all observers the nature of Kagame and Museveni who started their military adventure in Uganda in 1981. Much of the fighting was by Tusti refugees who had been exiled in Uganda after the 1959 troubles that ousted Tustis from power in Ruanda. Many Ugandans did not understand the real motive and identinty of the NRA, the group formed by Museveni and Kagame. After overrunning Kampala in 1986, four years later in 1990, Kagame and other Tustis took arms from Uganda and fought their way into power in Kigali after a genocide in 1994. Two years later, in 1996, Kagame and Museveni made a push on Kinshasa first to remove Mobutu then to take over Congo. This mission has never been finished and today the original NRA that started in Kampala is called M23 in DRC. The methods and some of the personalities are still the same.
It is up to the international community to decide whether Museveni and Kagame should always have their way in advancing the cause of Rwanda Tustis in East & Central Africa.
In Response

by: PASCAL NIYONZIMA from: RWANDA ARMY
November 23, 2012 6:16 AM
I have been in this RPF army for 15 years now, there is no good solutions will come out buy talking and UN involved, because KAGAME is forcing us to go far as KINSHANSA. I am so sorry for the congeries will lose their life in this war, sooner from now this war will be stronger than ever.
To the congeries please move out soon as possible, KAGAME will not allowing us to move back from GOMA we are advancing feather, remember what happened in 1993 the talks with KAGAME and HABYARIMANA did end the RWANDA war or become worse?
I am just sergeant nothing i can do, but God will pay him back for the wrong things KAGAME is doing to his own people, there is no M23 fighting in Congo the soldiers are in GOMA are RPF please don’t be stupid to accept that M23 is other part we are total RPF .
I am sick and tied of this man called KAGAME i know his my Boss but go to hell of it.
I will protect and save any person i will meet on the way in our attacks, with soldiers in my unity we will give no shit of KAGAME.

NB: Civilians please move out SAP
In Response

by: Alexander Gandah from: paynesville,Liberia
November 21, 2012 9:55 PM
friend we are almost saying the same thing the UN does not want to help congo in any way cuz the suspected kigame and museveni should be arrested and made to answer some questions about their role in the conflict.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs