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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid