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

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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

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.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs