News / Africa

UN Combat Brigade Fires on Congo Rebel Positions

A Congolese government tank patrols in Kanyarucinya village in the outskirts of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 22, 2013.
A Congolese government tank patrols in Kanyarucinya village in the outskirts of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, August 22, 2013.
Reuters
A new U.N. combat brigade formed to try to neutralize armed groups in Congo by force if needed fired artillery at M23 rebels menacing the eastern border city of Goma anew, U.N. and Congolese military officers said on Friday.
 
It was the brigade's first clash with M23 in support of government forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.N. force, composed of Tanzanian, South African and Malawian soldiers, was created by the U.N. Security Council in March.
 
Fighting entered a third successive day near Goma, a city of about a million people on the Rwandan border, after a relative lull in the 18-month-old M23 rebellion. Goma was briefly seized by the M23 last year and the United Nations pledged in July to prevent the rebels from getting back within range of the city.
 
But the rebels this week entered a security zone ringing Goma that had been established by the robustly-mandated U.N. Intervention Brigade earlier this month, and at least two people were killed when three shells landed in the city center.
 
U.N. Lieutenant-Colonel Felix Basse said another M23 shell crashed near Munigi on Goma's outskirts, where a U.N. peacekeepers' base is located, causing some civilian casualties.
 
“Of course we responded with artillery, as we cannot accept any threat to the population. That's why we retaliated,” he told Reuters by telephone from Goma.
 
Clashes between M23 and the Congolese army continued early on Friday with government forces repelling two rebel assaults, according to Colonel Olivier Hamuli, spokesman for the Congolese army, known as FARDC. “The (U.N.) brigade is engaged on our side, they're supporting us with their artillery,” he said.
 
Basse could not confirm further brigade involvement in Friday's fighting.
 
An M23 spokesman did not confirm on Friday that they had been fired on by U.N. peacekeeping troops and said the group was trying to avoid direct clashes with them.
 
“It's not just the brigade we're trying to avoid fighting but the FARDC too ... If the army carries on attacking us we're going to defend ourselves,” Amani Kabash said. “The army has got tanks and helicopters and they haven't pushed us back at all. That's why they're crying for MONUSCO to help.”
 
A South African military spokesman said the country's troops in Congo had not clashed with M23. “The fight is taking place near where our troops are positioned. We have a defensive line but we have not engaged,” Siphiwe Dlamini said.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs