News / Africa

    Suspected Congolese Rebels Arrested in South Africa

    Limpopo province of South Africa
    Limpopo province of South Africa
    Anita Powell
    South African police have arrested 19 suspected members of the M23 rebel group that launched a rebellion in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.
     
    Authorities say the arrests were made early Tuesday in South Africa's northern Limpopo province. In a statement, South African police said they believed the suspects were trying to "overthrow" the D.R.C.'s government.
     
    Police spokesman Lindela Mashigo would not say what evidence police collected to support their suspicions, but said the South African police operation was well-planned.
     
    “The takedown follows months of intelligence collection on the alleged rebels whose objective is believed to be overthrow the DRC government," Mashigo said. "It was carried out with precision; it was executed meticulously by our special task force members. So there were no faults, there were no injuries, I can report.”
     
    The group faces charges under the Foreign Military Assistance Act, a broad law that, among other things, prohibits armed groups from planning to overthrow a government from inside South Africa. Considered by some a magnet for asylum seekers, South Africa is a common destination for political exiles and those considered terrorists by their home nations. Earlier this month, for example, a South African court convicted Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah on 13 terrorism charges for his involvement in bombings that killed 12 people in Nigeria’s capital on the nation’s independence day in 2010.
     
    Arrests amid talks
    The arrests of the suspected M23 rebels come amid peace talks between the militant group and Congolese officials in Uganda. The talks were organized after the group launched a rebellion last year and briefly took control of the eastern city of Goma before agreeing to withdraw and engage in talks.
     
    An agreement called for M23 forces to withdraw 20 kilometers from Goma but the group has not complied.
     
    In an interview with VOA French to Africa reporter Nicolas Pinault, M23's military leader General Sultani Makenga said the rebel group remains near Goma because Congolese officials have not upheld provisions of the agreement.
     
    "They were supposed to have a battalion of the M23 in the airport – right now, there is no battalion of the M23 in the airport," he said. "And they were supposed to have a neutral zone between both forces, and right now there is no kind of neutral zone.”
     
    In the Sunday interview, Makenga also said M23 would not back a U.N. proposal that would allow the use of surveillance drones in the eastern D.R.C. as part of a peacekeeping mission.
     
    "They cannot approve of this decision," he said. "This is not a good thing because we have problems in the region and the drones are not going to solve these problems.”
     
    M23 is made up of former rebels who were integrated into the Congolese army in a 2009 peace agreement, but then deserted last year, complaining of discrimination and poor treatment.
     
    When asked if M23 would consider reintegrating into the Congolese army, Makenga said it would be "difficult to integrate into something that does not exist." He called for talks in creating what he called a "real army," saying "we are all Congolese."
     
    The DRC has been unable to gain control over the country's volatile east since the end of a civil war in 2003.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.