News / Africa

UN Targets FDLR Fighters in Eastern Congo

FILE - United Nations peacekeepers from Uruguay patrol a street in Goma, eastern Congo, July 13, 2012.
FILE - United Nations peacekeepers from Uruguay patrol a street in Goma, eastern Congo, July 13, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
— The head of the U.N. mission in the Congo said Wednesday that with the defeat of M23 rebels, U.N. peacekeepers are targeting other armed groups that have terrorized the eastern Congo for years.  

After briefing the Security Council, the U.N.’s Martin Kobler told reporters the mission is focusing on the Rwandan Hutu group, the FDLR.

He said between 1,500 and 1,800 fighters are in the FDLR, the majority of whom are too young to have participated in the Rwandan genocide.

“Seventy percent are young, below the age of 30.  They were not involved in the 1994 genocide, so it is easier for them also to surrender to us, and we had quite a number of surrenderees.  A whole platoon every month is surrendering without fighting," said Kobler.

He said the U.N. mission, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, began operations against the FDLR  November 27 and has made important progress liberating several areas.  This week, it cleared a main road that connects the town of Pinga and the provincial capital, Goma.

“This road was closed two years.  And from yesterday on, people can bring their vegetables to Goma market; they can visit their families outside the area - after two years’ paralysis and having been terrorized by armed groups in this area," he said.

He attributed much of the success to the troops on the ground, but welcomed the addition last week to MONUSCO of two unarmed drone aircraft that are improving the mission’s ability to conduct aerial reconnaissance and gather intelligence.

Kobler said the drones are an excellent deterrent and help to encourage armed groups to surrender without fighting. They also help the mission avoid civilian casualties and minimize risk to its own personnel during operations.

MONUSCO is expecting three more unarmed drones early in the new year.

Kobler expressed cautious optimism that the eastern Congo is entering a new phase.

“There is still some hesitance, but there is a chance, at least, that this time the situation is irreversible, and we are not entering in a few years from now in a new era of violence here," he said. "But this requires not only military action; it requires in particular determined civilian action."

Kobler said improving basic services to citizens and settling root causes of the conflict must be resolved, otherwise there is a risk of losing the military gains.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid