News / Africa

UN: Rebel Mortar Attack Kills at Least Three in East Congo

Men investigate the remains of a house struck hours earlier by deadly mortar fire, sparking angry protestors to take to the streets, in Goma, DRC, Aug. 24, 2013.
Men investigate the remains of a house struck hours earlier by deadly mortar fire, sparking angry protestors to take to the streets, in Goma, DRC, Aug. 24, 2013.
Reuters
Shells fired by M23 rebels killed at least three people in Congo's eastern city of Goma on Saturday, the United Nations said, as Congo and Rwanda traded accusations over days of border clashes that have drawn in a new, robustly mandated U.N. force.
 
Two more civilians died during demonstrations that broke out in the wake of the shelling, the United Nations said.
 
Fighting between M23 and Congolese soldiers, after the rebels entered a security zone around Goma on Wednesday, has now killed at least seven civilians. On Thursday, a U.N. brigade formed to neutralize armed groups in Congo saw its first military action, firing artillery at the rebels.
 
Artillery fire has hit both sides of the border this week.
 
Rwanda twice invaded its much larger neighbor in the 1990s and sponsored Congolese rebels trying to topple the Kinshasa government. Millions have died since then in Congo's eastern borderlands, a patchwork of rebel and militia fiefdoms rich in tin as well as tungsten and coltan ores.
 
U.N. investigators have accused Rwanda of backing M23, an accusation Kigali has repeatedly rejected.
 
Congo's U.N. mission, MONUSCO, said two mortar bombs fired by M23 struck the Ndosho neighborhood of Goma - a city of one million people - on Saturday morning, killing three civilians and injuring several others.
 
A Reuters witness at the scene saw four bodies - a woman and three children.
 
“I have ordered the MONUSCO Force to react in the strongest terms possible to these horrifying and unqualifiable crimes,” said Martin Kobler, head of the U.N. mission, which pledged last month to keep M23 out of range of Goma.
 
The rebels marched past peacekeepers to seize Goma briefly last year - an embarrassment for the United Nations that led to the creation of the 3,000-member Intervention Brigade, made up of South African, Tanzanian and Malawian troops.
 
M23 denied responsibility for Saturday's mortar attack.
 
“[The army] is doing this because it wants to draw MONUSCO into the combat on its side,” M23 spokesman Amani Kabasha said.
 
U.N. Injured, Protesters Dead
 
Peacekeepers, including members of the Intervention Brigade, were again involved in the fighting on Saturday, pounding M23 positions in Kibati, 11 km (seven miles) north of Goma, in response to the shelling of Goma.
 
“We have used our attack helicopters to destroy M23 positions around Kibati,” MONUSCO military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Basse said by telephone from Goma.
 
Two Tanzanian U.N. soldiers and one from South Africa were injured when M23 mortar shells struck MONUSCO positions in Munigi, around four km (2.5 miles) north of Goma, the mission said.
 
Thousands of residents took to the streets to protest against the attack on Goma, carrying the body of one of the victims towards the Rwandan border in protest.
 
Then, in a reflection of growing frustration with MONUSCO, they confronted peacekeepers shouting: “This time you have to leave!”
 
Police fired teargas to disperse them. Protesters responded by hurling stones.
 
A Reuters witness heard the sound of gunfire during the demonstrations but said it was unclear who was shooting. MONUSCO later confirmed that two civilians had been killed and called for an investigation by the United Nations and Congolese police.
 
Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende on Saturday accused Rwanda of direct involvement in this week's fighting.
 
“Rwandan troops crossed the border [on Thursday] ... and were with M23. That is still the case as far as we know,” he said.
 
Rwandan Defense Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Joseph Nzabamwita denied any army involvement, calling the accusation “outrageous, old, spurious and outlandish”.
 
Kigali said five mortar bombs had fallen on Rwandan villages on Friday, following a rocket the previous day, and blamed Congo's army.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs