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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid