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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
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 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 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.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid