News / Africa

DRC Government Rules Out Talks With Rebels

Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon talks during a press conference in Kinshasa, April 19, 2012.
Democratic Republic of Congo's Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon talks during a press conference in Kinshasa, April 19, 2012.
Nick Long
GOMA - The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has ruled out negotiations with rebel groups. It has also accused Rwanda of failing to stop Congolese rebels recruiting and resupplying in Rwandan territory.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Prime Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon has just completed a fact finding tour of the country’s most troubled province, North Kivu.
 
Speaking to the media in Goma Sunday he said the government would use force to dislodge the rebels of the M23 movement from what he described as their last holdout - a range of hills on the borders of North Kivu, Rwanda and Uganda.
 
The prime minister says the Congolese armed forces were all set to defeat the whole enemy force when they were astonished to see that the enemy force was increasing. A neighboring country’s territory, he says, had been used for training and infiltration.
 
The prime minister says he met with rebel deserters at the UN military base in Goma who told him they were recruited and trained in Rwanda before being sent to join the M23 rebels.
 
DRC Information Minister Lambert Mende says several hundred M23 combatants have been recruited recently in Rwanda.
 
Mende says the DRC government condemns the inactivity - or worse - of the Rwandan authorities in the face of these serious infringements of the DRC’s peace and security.  
 He also says the M23 had formed alliances with other armed groups, including the Rwandan FDLR rebels who are operating on Congolese territory.
 
DRC officials say they are going through diplomatic channels to address concerns with Rwanda.
 
While the government is vowing to end the rebellion by military means - there have been at least three ceasefires since fighting with the M23 began in April. Mende hinted that the current truce called last week is strategic to allow the army to resupply with ammunition.
 
But Ernest Kyaviro, a spokesman for the governor of North Kivu province, says the ceasefire is not popular with the local Congolese. 
 
“They don’t like it at all, because it has given the enemy the time to reinforce and fight again," said Kyaviro. "It has been made two times and the consequence was to complicate things. They don’t like it - they have told it to the minister openly, in Rutshuru. It can be sad for them to see another truce coming.”
 
A spokesman for a civil society group in North Kivu Omar Kavota says they also oppose the ceasefire because there is a risk that the M23 would escape from their holdout and restart the war elsewhere.  
 
But whether or not civilians support a ceasefire and a military solution depends on who you talk to. Eric Muhindo is a teacher from the village of Mushaki - the scene of recent fighting.
 
He says his community wants a ceasefire because they are threatened and they are tired of the war. Muhindo adds that if the government thought of the people, it would talk to the rebels to find a solution which addresses the origins of the problem.
 
Most of the people in Mushaki are Kinyarwanda speakers, from the community that has provided the M23 with most of its recruits.
 
But Minister Mende emphasised that Kinyarwanda speakers are by no means the only people who have joined ethnic militias in Kivu.
 
He says that in each of Kivu’s communities there are youths who get together and say they are going to form a militia to protect their people, and even if their real aims are pillage and rape, they always claim they are protecting their community.
 
This, Mende says, is why the prime minister had called a meeting of community leaders in Goma, to urge them to discourage tribal militias.
 
The M23 are former Congolese soldiers - once aligned with a Rwandan-backed rebel group known as the CNDP.  The mutineers were integrated into the army in a 2009 peace deal. But indications the Congolese government was going to arrest their commander, Bosco Ntaganda, on an International Criminal Court warrant prompted the rebellion in April.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid