News / Africa

    UN Security Council Calls for Sanctions on DRC Spoilers

    M23 rebels guard weapons given to them by the government's army in Goma November 21, 2012.
    M23 rebels guard weapons given to them by the government's army in Goma November 21, 2012.
    Margaret Besheer
    The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for sanctions against rebel leaders in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as other spoilers in the region. 

    Who Are the M23 Rebels?

    • Named for March 23, the date of a 2009 peace deal
    • Contains fighters once loyal to a rebel army who assimilated into the DRC army, then defected
    • Formed in early 2012
    • Dominated by the Tutsi ethnic group
    • Also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army
    • UN experts say the group is backed by Rwanda, which Rwanda denies
    The M23 rebels are mainly Congolese army defectors who have become firmly entrenched in the North Kivu region. A group of about 3,000 rebels advanced toward the regional capital, Goma, in recent days. On Tuesday, they moved into the city of nearly 1 million people.

    The 15-nation Security Council adopted Resolution 2076, which was drafted by France and condemns attacks by the M23 rebels and demands their immediate withdrawal from Goma. It also expresses the Council’s intention to consider additional targeted sanctions against M23 leaders and those providing external support to the armed group.

    ​A U.N. panel of experts monitoring sanctions on the DRC has accused neighboring Rwanda of providing material support to the group, a charge Kigali denies. Tuesday’s resolution does not mention Rwanda by name. But during the Security Council meeting, DRC envoy Seraphin Ngwej reiterated his government’s conviction that Rwanda is supporting the M23, particularly in its advance on Goma.

    "The operations that led to the fall of Goma have benefited from remarkable planning and sufficient resupply, and particularly night vision equipment. This is material that neither the armed forces of the DRC nor MONUSCO have in their arsenals, unlike Rwanda. Even air defense equipment was used against combat helicopters of the armed forces of the DRC and those of MONUSCO," said Seraphin Ngwej.

    • M23 rebels guard weapons given to them by the government's army, Goma, DRC, November 21, 2012.
    • A Congo government policeman hands in his weapon to M23 rebels during an M23 rally in Goma, DRC, November 21, 2012.
    • Congo government policemen, foreground, and civilians gather during a M23 rally in Goma, Congo, November 21, 2012.
    • A M23 fighter, wearing a belt of ammunition, walks down a street in Goma, after the rebels captured the city from the government army, November 20, 2012.
    • People walk the streets of Goma, DRC during a lull in the fighting, November 20, 2012. (VOA 100 Citoyens journalistes de RD Congo)
    • M23 rebels in the streets of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
    • M23 rebels enter Goma, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
    • M23 rebels celebrating their takeover of Goma, DRC, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
    • M23 spokesperson Lt. Col. Vianney Kazarama entering Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)
    • M23 Rebels patrolling in Goma, DRC, November 20, 2012. (A. Malivika/VOA)

    MONUSCO is the French acronym by which the 17,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force is known.

    Rwanda’s representative at the meeting, Olivier Nduhungirehe, dismissed the accusations and said it is time for dialogue - but between the right parties.

    “Because if we’ve learned anything from this war and the fall of Goma, [it] is that a military solution is a failure that will not work, there needs to be a dialogue - but not a dialogue between the wrong people - it needs to be between the Congolese and those fighting in the DRC.”

    Human rights groups have been very critical of Rwanda’s alleged support for rebels in the mineral-rich eastern Congo. Human Rights Watch’s U.N. Director Philippe Bolopion said after the vote that the resolution falls short because it fails to name “Rwandan officials known by the U.N. to have supported M23’s atrocities.” He said if the Security Council wants to protect civilians in Goma, it needs to send a clearer message to Kigali.

    The United States, which has been criticized for protecting Rwanda, urged dialogue among the parties. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Tuesday that Washington thinks "Rwanda has got to be part of the solution," and that the government should use its influence to demilitarize the situation and get the M23 to pull back.

    The U.N. said Tuesday that MONUSCO remains in control of the Goma airport. The mission has about 1,500 troops in Goma. They are conducting patrols and helicopter missions as part of their effort to protect civilians.

    MONUSCO said reports indicate the M23 has wounded civilians, abducted children and women, destroyed property and intimidated journalists and individuals who have attempted to resist their control.

    The Congolese army has been battling rebels in the eastern DRC for the past several months, displacing scores of civilians fleeing the violence.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Satan Bima Kamudila Matat from: Bunia Ituri
    November 24, 2012 5:19 AM
    We appreciate the effort of UN in DRC,but our dead Government which will not take chance of its people how ever much the world want to guide them from this little gap of their escape.With M23 people are quiet.UN should be the right referees other than supporting killers who are killing our people,physically, spiritually,and morally.

    by: Joe Flomo Matthew from: Cleveland, Ohio USA
    November 22, 2012 10:02 AM
    The performances or lack thereof of the UN in Goma and other places showed that it should get out of the business of military peacekeeping. If the UN cannot fight fire with fire, it should not put the lives of the innocents in harms way. Sending bunch of "blue helmet" to a war zone with mandates not to fight is rediculous. Rebels understand one thing, kill or be killed. One can only imagine the miseries and deaths government officials and supporters are going through in hands of the rebels in Goma.

    Thanks....

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    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 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 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 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 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 Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    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.