News / Africa

DRC Says Rwanda Withdraws Troops Helping Rebels

M23 rebel fighters in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) July 12, 2012.M23 rebel fighters in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) July 12, 2012.
x
M23 rebel fighters in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) July 12, 2012.
M23 rebel fighters in Karambi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) July 12, 2012.
Nick Long
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government says Rwanda has been smuggling troops out of the eastern DRC.  The DRC accuses Rwanda of assisting rebels in the region, an accusation that Rwanda repeatedly has denied.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s communications minister Lambert Mende has questioned Rwanda’s announcement that last Friday it withdrew a contingent of soldiers who were working with the Congolese army.

Mende does not deny that some units of the Rwandan army, said by local sources to number more than 200, were withdrawn from the territory of Rutshuru last week, but he says they were not part of a joint operation with the Congolese army.

He says the announcement was to disguise a withdrawal of troops that should not have been in the Congo, and were probably helping the rebel group M23.

"We think that it is a trick, because we received here less than 100 intelligence officers.  It’s what we agreed with our neighbours - to set up a team of 100 from Congo and 100 from Rwanda to set up a mechanism to monitor the border," Mende said.

Mende says Congo recently decided to dismantle this team, because of worsening relations with Rwanda, and he suggests Kigali has seized this opportunity to smuggle out other soldiers.

"How comes it that now that we have asked for this mechanism to be withdrawn, they are withdrawing 300 soldiers - not officers but soldiers?  That means they are exfiltrating soldiers they have infiltrated, and they want them back to Rwanda because there is a lot of pressure from the international community," Mende said.

The conflict between Congo's army and M23 began in April.  M23 has since defeated the army in battles in North Kivu province and seized control of several areas including Rutshuru, although they later pulled out of the eastern city.

The rebel group consists of of former Congolese army soldiers loyal to warlord Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Speaking to the media Monday, Mende reiterated his government’s request to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions to be imposed on senior Rwandan officials and officers cited in a U.N. group of experts' report as helping the M23 rebels.
 
Those cited include Rwandan Defense Minister James Kabarebe, who was once chief of staff of the Congolese army.  Kabarebe has aroused strong feelings in Kinshasa with his derogatory comments about the DRC, which he said in a recent interview had neither a government nor an army.

In place of a joint Congolese-Rwandan border force, the DRC has appealed for an international force to be stationed along the border, with a mandate to eradicate the M23 and the Rwandan FDLR rebels.  

Mende says progress has been made this plan, and the next stage will be a foreign ministers’ meeting to prepare for another heads of state meeting in Kampala, to take the decisions so that the force can be set up.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: P. Laurent from: kigali
September 05, 2012 2:26 PM
Minister Mende your very busy spreading your deceitfulness to the world. Rwandan special forces crossed the border while the international media witnesses. A Congolese delegation led by the 8th region of the FARDC, Brig Gen Lucien Bauma Ambamba, in a sign of good cooperation between FARDC and RDF delivered a message of appreciation for the support given by Rwanda Defence Forces to FARDC. What are the basis of your arguments?. We are wise and in apposition to analyze what you are saying. I think the Brig Gen was there on behalf of the your government.

by: Bernard URAYENEZA from: Kigali, Rwanda
September 05, 2012 11:48 AM
Anyone with an average intellect will see that what is being said by the not so Honourable minister is mere obfuscation. There is a deliberate policy by some in the congolese government to use lies and half truths in the media to blow wind into the firestorm began by Hege's and the 'GoE's ' biased report.

From the time the Congo began it's interference in Rwanda's affairs in 1990 by sending thousands of indisciplined special forces to fight on the side of the genocidal regime of the day to date, they've been on the losing side. I don't think this kind of behaviour will win them anything in the long run.

by: H. Gbahn from: Liberia
September 05, 2012 10:27 AM
Don't forget to know that the DRC Army assigned at North Kivu were overrun few months ago by M23 rebels, it is likely that the soldiers left their uniforms down in the process. Let us, Africans forget about this constant bloodshed and learn to live at peace.

by: Charles Murigande from: Tokyo
September 05, 2012 5:15 AM
What Minister Lambert Mende is saying is just laughable. All the 357 Rwandan Special Troops that were withdrawn from DRC were wearing DR Congolese Army Uniforms given by the DRC Army (FARDC). If the agreement said that RwandanSpecial troops should not be more than 100 as Min. Mende falsely claims, why did FARDC give them 357 uniforms?

The Military Leadership of the 8th FARDC Military Region was at the Rwanda-DRC border to bid farewell to the departing Rwandan Special Forces and the Commander of the 8th FARDC Military Region promised to send for the collection of their Military Uniforms in Gisenyi. They never complained about the number of withdrawn Rwandan soldiers being higher than agreed!


by: Michael from: Kigali
September 05, 2012 4:42 AM
I think this tough talking by DRC governmanet officials is not good for the ongoing efforts to bring peace to the region. Rwanda should be seen as a partner and not a foe to peace in DRC. The last three years have shown that when the two countries work together they can achieve peace. Its thus not good for Minister Mende to keep on bashing Rwanda. Its not good for Rwanda; its not good for DRC and its not good for peace.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs