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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid