News / Africa

US Legislators Seek Action on Rwanda for Supporting of DR Congo Rebels

M23 rebel fighters sit on a truck as they prepare to withdraw near the town of Sake, 42 kilometers west of Goma in eastern Congo, November 30, 2012.M23 rebel fighters sit on a truck as they prepare to withdraw near the town of Sake, 42 kilometers west of Goma in eastern Congo, November 30, 2012.
M23 rebel fighters sit on a truck as they prepare to withdraw near the town of Sake, 42 kilometers west of Goma in eastern Congo, November 30, 2012.
M23 rebel fighters sit on a truck as they prepare to withdraw near the town of Sake, 42 kilometers west of Goma in eastern Congo, November 30, 2012.
Cindy Saine
A number of U.S. lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to take tougher action on Rwanda for supporting the M23 rebels who are terrorizing civilians in the eastern Congo.  The Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee held a hearing on the eastern Congo crisis Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary, the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department, testified about how serious the situation is for residents of eastern Congo since M23 rebels rebelled against the government and took control of the eastern region in April.

"The security and humanitarian situation in the Congo is the most volatile in Africa today," Carson said.

Carson said five million people have died in inter-ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1997.  Carson said there is a credible body of evidence from the United Nations and other sources that the Rwandan government is aiding the M23 rebels, and called on Rwanda to cease any such support.

Subcommittee chairman Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, said successive U.S. administrations have neglected to take a tough stand on Rwanda, due to U.S. regret about not stopping the genocide there in 1994.

"We must overcome our regret over what happened 18 years ago.  As an NGO letter to President Obama points out, the United States is not out of step with our European allies, who have cut aid to Rwanda because of their interference in the DRC," Smith said.

His Republican colleague, Congressman Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, was even more forceful in his criticism, asking Carson how long the Obama administration was going to try to negotiate with the leaders of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda while civilians continue to be killed.

"How many people have to die before you stop the negotiations and get serious about this?," Marino said.

Carson said that the U.S. government has to be patient and to continue to press the involved governments to see reason and to put an end to the violence.  He stressed that the United States has taken action.

"We cut off our foreign military financing to the Rwandan government, one of the first such public acts by any government," Carsons said.

Analysts say they fear it will be hard to get a peace deal in talks scheduled between Congolese President Joseph Kabila and the M23 rebels, and that more civilians will die or be displaced.

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Comment Sorting
by: ron from: kansas
December 16, 2012 2:42 PM
It is very disturbing to WITNESS the application of simplistic solutions to a complex problem by none other the "United Nations". The solution to the M23 problem lies with the Congolese government (not Rwanda or Uganda). You continue to underestimate the lethality of a people under the threat of extinction. The Congolese government transfered 55 officers and men to units in different parts of the country and they were summarily executed; the M23 revolted and broke away to protect themselves and their families from a genocidal government. But the media doesnt look at this side of the story. The Congolese regime is simply a murderous and corrupt regime. Is Rwanda really involved in M23 issues or Is it just the presence of congolese Tutsi commanders in M23 that happens to be an itching coincidence? Does it occur to you that this can be a blame game that covers the failure of the UN Force to manage the crisis? Lets re-think this through, this time critically !! Otherwise, we will get it wrong again.

by: Lusamba from: Canada
December 12, 2012 8:00 PM
I don't know if it's out of sheer ignorance or just incompetence but how can you assert that 5 million people have died following ethnic violence while writing that US Senators are calling for sanctions against Rwanda? How is Rwanda backing, arming and providing logistics for the so-called rebels inter-ethnic violence? Seriously?!

by: David from: Washington DC
December 12, 2012 6:24 PM
M23 and Kabila is same tribe, philosophy and depend on theirs roots Uganda&Rwanda, not to Congolese Institution and value. The both of them have been betraying DRC since 2007. So we don’t trust to this meeting between enemies of Congo. DRC needs a new leadership who can unify Congolese, visionary, stand for democracy& human right and supported reliable trade between USA-DRC-EU.

In Response

by: jbhadiya from: MA
December 16, 2012 5:01 PM
David you made a good point,but you should give it a happy ending.
Let the Congolese deal with their problem,thru their institutions and leave the rest of the neighbors alone. They have to admit that they have a problem in the 1st place,they need to understand their problem and look for ways to solve it.

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