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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid