News / Africa

Source: Congo Rebel Leader Held in Uganda

FILE - General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels.
FILE - General Sultani Makenga, military leader of the M23 rebels.
Reuters
Uganda is holding the military commander of Congo's defeated M23 rebel movement after he surrendered, a Ugandan officer said on Thursday, allaying fears that it could still take up arms again.

Sultani Makenga's whereabouts had been unclear since Tuesday's declaration by the M23 that it was ending its 20-month-old insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, worrying some that he could be hiding with plans to regroup.

His surrender will be seen as a major achievement for the Congolese army, with the backing of a U.N. force, as it strives to restore calm in a region racked by war for two decades.

But analysts have warned against too much optimism for a sustained peace in the east of the vast nation, where the M23 was only one of several armed groups in the mineral-rich region.

"I can confirm to you he [Makenga] is with us,'' a senior Ugandan officer, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

"He surrendered to us yesterday [Wednesday] and we're holding him somewhere and some other commanders of his,'' he said, adding the group of rebels would be held at an undisclosed location until a peace agreement was signed.

The Congolese government had no immediate comment.

The M23 group declared an end to its military campaign and said it would seek political talks after Congolese troops routed them from their hide-outs with the support of a U.N. force of African troops with a mandate to intervene.

"We have roughly about 1,500 M23 combatants who surrendered to us. We have disarmed all of them and we're in the process of documenting and categorising all their weapons,'' said Captain Ronald Kakurungu, army spokesperson for Uganda's Western region.

That number of 1,500 is higher than most previous estimates of the strength of the M23, which experts had generally believed to have dwindled in recent months to a few hundred.

Other armed groups
      
But political analysts said the defeat of the M23 did not mean that a return of order in Congo's east was assured.

"Just because you think you've beaten back the M23 rabble rousers in the east, do you really think it can become a stable country? I don't think so,'' said Martyn Davies, chief executive of the Johannesburg-based Frontier Advisory.

"This time next year, you'll be looking at an 'M24','' said Davies, whose firm advises on Africa and other emerging markets.

M23 rebel group:

  • Formed in early 2012
  • Named for March 23, the date of a 2009 peace deal
  • Also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army
  • Includes fighters once loyal to a rebel army who assimilated into the DRC army, then defected
  • Dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group
  • Its leader Bertrand Bisimwa said Nov. 5, 2013, that the group is laying down its arms
  • UN experts say the group is backed by Rwanda, which Rwanda denies
The M23, which U.N. experts and Western powers had said was backed by Rwanda, initially launched its campaign when it said a peace deal with another Tutsi-led group had not been honored by the Congolese government.

Rwanda, whose troops have been involved in several conflicts in Congo over the years, repeatedly denied backing the M23. But it has said eastern Congo still harbors Hutu extremists behind a 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Kigali has long accused Congo's armed forces of tolerating, and even cooperating with, Hutu insurgents in the east from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Diplomats at the United Nations said the Congolese army and 3,000-strong U.N. intervention force MONUSCO could now turn their attention to other rebels in Congo's east, which does not even have a tarmac road connecting it to the capital Kinshasa.

"The general consensus was that we have to handle the other armed groups, and among which - I guess on the front line if I may say - the FDLR,'' French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said after a briefing of the 15-member Security Council on Congo.

Millions of people have died from violence, disease and hunger since the 1990s as dozens of rebel groups have fought for control of eastern Congo's rich deposits of gold, diamonds, copper, cobalt and uranium.

Last month, Washington said it would block U.S. military aid to Rwanda because of its "support for the M23, a rebel group which continues to actively recruit and abduct children'' and which has posed a threat to the stability of Congo.

A senior U.S. official said on Wednesday that Washington would consider resuming military aid to Rwanda if it found Rwandan support for M23 had ended.

According to U.N. diplomats at the Security Council briefing on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said: "The wolf at the door, the M23, was threatening civilians, was threatening MONUSCO. We hope that the threat of this wolf at the door is now gone for good.''

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jean Kapenda from: USA
November 07, 2013 10:44 AM
Ask any criminologist or law enforcement agent, and you'll get the same answer: aggressive panhandling is a crime, PERIOD. Rwanda's leaders are free to continue their passive panhandling around the world to touch the hearts of compassionate foreign taxpayers and to use their monies wisely to continue that passive panhandling for years and years. However, their aggressive panhandling in the Congo is a crime and there's an international court to prosecute those criminal rings sponsored by Rwanda, Uganda, and to some extent Burundi.

Our task now is to seal off Congo's borders with Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi by building a D-fence modeled after the border security fence along the Israel-Egypt border. It is also time for the Congo to build a homeland security doctrine and elaborate a defense architecture philosophy to prevent and fight any future foreign-state-sponsored criminal activity on the Congolese soil.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid