News / Africa

DRC Says 120 Rebels Killed in East

Congolese government army FARDC soldiers walk towards the frontline where they are fighting against M23 rebels outside the eastern Congolese city of Goma, July 14, 2013.
Congolese government army FARDC soldiers walk towards the frontline where they are fighting against M23 rebels outside the eastern Congolese city of Goma, July 14, 2013.
Nick Long
The Democratic Republic of Congo says its forces have killed 120 rebels and captured another dozen in fighting in North Kivu province.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende said Monday that about 10 army soldiers have died in the fighting north of Goma, the provincial capital.

The United Nations mission in Congo says it started Sunday when the M23, which holds territory near Goma, attacked government troops near the towns of Mutaho and Rusayo.

Inhabitants of a village in the eastern DRC say they saw armed men in women's clothing enter the country from Rwanda on Sunday, shortly before fighting broke out near their village. The fighting continued Monday eight kilometers north of Goma, a city on the Congolese-Rwandan border.

This was the first heavy fighting at the front lines between government forces and the rebel group M23 since late May.

Many civilians in the rebel zone fled to the government side just before the fighting started. A farmer, Bifumbo Ruhira, said he left his home in the rebel zone when he saw more than 100 combatants arrive in his village early Sunday.

He said he saw many soldiers on board two trucks, and they were wearing women’s shawls over their uniforms. One of them told the villagers they were Rwandan soldiers and they had come from Rwanda as reinforcements.

The trucks stopped on the Rwandan side of the border, he said, and the combatants had run across.

Another villager, Baraki Murefu, confirmed his account, saying the combatants were wearing shawls as women wear them. It was a disguise so that people would not see they were soldiers, he said, and he noted they were heading to the northern side of Mutaho, where the M23 were positioned.

He said the fighting started shortly afterwards.

An M23 spokesman, Vianney Kazarama, denied the rebels had started the fighting and dismissed the story about armed men disguised as women.

"No, no, no," he said. "That is the Congolese culture. They like rumors."

He added that he does not know about the comings and goings at the frontier.

At the front, the M23 appears to be outgunned by the Congolese army.

That was the M23 firing, according to local journalists Sylvain Muyali and Mustapha Matabaro. Most of the mortar and rocket fire appeared to be coming from the government side

It is the Congolese army that is firing now, said Muyali.

If we go further, we will be in front of their position," said Matabaro. "At that point we turned back."

"Back on the main road, the Congolese army was moving up reinforcements. Three tanks and eight troop carriers and jeeps raced past us," said said Matabaro. "These were significant reinforcements for the army, and others were moving up through the day.   

The M23 force is thought to be comprised of about 2,000 fighters.

Army colonel Jacky Zeng had a theory about why the M23 had launched the attack. "They do not want to be forgotten," he said. "They are reminding us they exist."

It may have been a costly reminder. The government spokesman Lambert Mende has said the rebels suffered about 120 casualties on Sunday, while government forces suffered six or seven.

Peace talks between the government and M23 in Kampala stalled again last week.

Local sources said the government troops advanced Monday to attack Kibati, the village in the M23 zone where the farmer Ruhira said he saw armed men in women’s clothing.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid