Newscast Media KINSHASA—Speaking before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign
Relations February 26, Russell Feingold, the U.S. special envoy for the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region, said the region stands at a
crossroads between peace and ongoing conflict.
“The decisions that the Congo, the region and the international community take now
will set the trajectory of the next several years in terms of security, good
governance, and development,” he said. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media NAIROBI—According to Kenya’s Capital FM News, Democratic
Republic of Congo’s government and the M23 rebels signed declarations Thursday to
end bitter conflict in the east of the country, a document signed by Uganda’s
President Yoweri Museveni and Malawian President Joyce Banda read.
“The DR Congo government and M23 have respectively signed declarations” including
the “decision by M23 to end rebellion and transform itself into a legitimate political
party,” the document inked Thursday in Nairobi read.
DRC spokesman Lambert Mende said government and M23 leaders had signed three
documents at the State House in Nairobi. Provisions of the peace deal include the
dissolution of M23 as an armed group, as well as demobilization and a renunciation of
violence as a means of pursuing future claims, he said.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—The United Nations Security Council has called for the immediate and permanent disarmament of the March 23 movement (M23) rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On Thursday, Liu Jieyi of China, who holds the council’s presidency in November, said that the council “calls for…the disarmament and demobilization of the M23 and accountability for human rights abusers.”
On Wednesday, Abdallah Wafi, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s deputy special representative to Congo, said the country should prepare a plan to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate former rebels M23.
He made the remarks a week after the UN mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, helped the Congolese army defeat the 18-month-old M23 insurgency.
Wafi said the measure, which he called DDR plan, is key to ensure peace and security in the country’s violence-ridden east.
On November 5, the M23 announced an end to their revolt after a bruising offensive by the Congolese army and UN forces. M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa said in a statement that the group would disarm and pursue political talks.
The M23 rebels seized Goma on November 20, 2012 after UN peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city of one million people. M23 rebels withdrew from the city on December 1 under a ceasefire accord.
The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the army. They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
Since early May 2012, nearly three million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but about 500,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.
Source: Press TV
Newscast Media KINSHASA—The Congolese army seized one of the last positions held
by the M23 rebel group on Monday. Thousands of people are on the run. The rebels
have repeated their peace offer.
Standing beside his taxi at the Biere roundabout in the center of Goma, James Karefu
is keeping calm. “No, I’m not afraid of the M23. Its present state does not allow them
to stand in front of a regular army”, the taxi driver tells DW.
One year ago, the name M23 was enough to sent shockwaves down the spines of
Goma residents, after the rebels took the major trade hub in eastern DRC. They
stayed in the city for ten days while Congolese soldiers and UN peacekeepers stood
by and watched.
That has changed dramatically. After a military campaign that lasted a few weeks,
the rebels control little more than three hilltops in the entire region. And even though
fighting between the rebels and the army erupted again on Monday in another part of
the eastern DR Congo, Goma’s residents went about their daily routines. “In Goma, life
goes on normally”, Deutsche Welle correspondent Gaïus Kowene reported. Shops,
schools and banks operate as usual, our correspondent said.
M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, becoming the latest reincarnation of an
ethnic Tutsi rebel group dissatisfied with the Congolese government.
On Monday, Congolese soldiers seized the strategic hilltop of Mbuzi. It had been
“completely conquered,” the AFP news agency quoted a senior Congolese official as
saying. “We can’t stop…there are only a few hills left to conquer,” he added.
Correspondents in the area reported that the soldiers attacked the hill post with tanks
and rocket fire. Seven rebels are said to have been captured.
The M23 complained that the army had attacked its positions with heavy weapons.
“Our movement reiterates that we are ready to unconditionally sign the peace deal
agreed on Saturday, November 3 in Kampala,” the rebels said in a statement.
African leaders meanwhile met in South Africa’s capital Pretoria on Monday evening to
find a political situation for the crisis. South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma is
expected to discuss the situation with the presidents of Uganda, Kenya, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media KINSHASA—The Congolese army backed by UN troops has defeated
the March 23 movement (M23) that threatened towns in the eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo, the UN special representative to the country has said.
Martin Kobler, who is also the head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), made the remarks to the UN Security
Council by video-link on Monday, AFP reported. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Due to the extended conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo caused by M23 rebels, the US is now ready to send drones to the Great Lakes region of Africa to help UN peace-keeping forces maintain stability. This of course is making leaders of the countries within the region nervous because the unmanned aerial vehicles will also be equipped with surveillance capabilities.
The US wants to take a pragmatic approach by sending in drones which may not be limited to just Congo, but also used in other neighboring countries.
“It is not wise to use a device on which we don’t have enough information,” Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s deputy U.N. ambassador, told Reuters. “Africa shall not become a laboratory for intelligence devices from overseas.”
However, Brieuc Pont, who represents the French government disagrees, and in a tweet he was supportive of sending drones to DR Congo as shown below:
This is news DR Congo’s Joseph Kabila will welcome, because the drones will deter invaders from encroaching on his mineral-rich nation. Yet Rwanda’s opposition to the drone idea is a sign that the Rwandan government feels it might be a target since it has been accused of supporting and arming the M23 rebels according to an article written by The Australian.
Newscast Media KAMPALA, Uganda—The month of November ends with a positive solution to the Democratic Republic of Congo crisis, that was welcomed by the White House and State Department. Life in eastern Congo is slowly returning to normal as the rebels fully withdraw from the region. The White House and State Department issued a strong statement condemning the action the rebels took to invade the DRC.
At the beginning of the week, when fighting intensified as rebels held the eastern cities of Goma and Sake captive, Newscast Media wrote a harsh admonition under the headline “Not enough Congolese have been killed for the U.S. to intervene”.
In that article written on November 26, this journalist said, “Hillary Clinton squandered several opportunities she had to mobilize a peace-keeping force that would secure the well-being of the Congolese people.”
For the part of the State Department, Hillary Clinton has since worked with the UN and African Union (AU) to secure a 4,000-strong force, that will be on stand-by to make sure that lasting peace in the region is realized.
Something we also wanted to see happen when the article was written, was a strong condemnation from the U.S. government against the invasion of Congo by the rebels.
Hillary Clinton, like a true soldier said on November 28: “The United States strongly condemns the “tactics of fear and intimidation” that have accompanied the conflict since a rebellion broke out in the region in April.”
“There is only one way forward for M23,” Clinton added. “They must meet their commitments under the Kampala Accords to cease their attacks, withdraw from Goma, and pull back to the July lines.”
Read full condemnation
The swift actions the U.S. government (State Department) and African Union have taken in the past 72 hours, satisfy the grievances Newscast Media had about the silence of the United States, while Africans were being slaughtered.
As much as we are passionate when criticizing policies we find troubling, it is only fair that we praise those who have been criticized, when they correct those same policies. We know Newscast Media gets some web traffic from the State Department.
As such, Newscast Media credits Hillary Clinton, the US government and the African Union (AU) for mobilizing a military unit of 4,000 to neutralize any threat that would destabilize the DRC region. More credit also goes to Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, for the role they played in delivering a peaceful solution.
This is certainly an excellent humanitarian gesture on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the people of the Motherland—and a sign of redemption of lost opportunities, as she ends her tenure with the State Department.
Cicero, the greatest mind in classical antiquity said: “The greatest renown, and profoundest gratitude, is won by defending the oppressed. This consideration particularly applies when the oppression is coming from a formidable personage.” Cicero On The Good Life (page 147).
I’m sure Hillary will miss my constructive criticism when she leaves office in January 2013—but who knows? I might just catch up with her on the campaign trail…should she choose to run for the presidency in the year 2016.
Newscast Media PRETORIA—The Democratic Republic of Congo has asked South Africa to intervene in the eastern region where Rwanda and Uganda have been accused by a UN leaked report of supporting the rebels. Meeting his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Congolese Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda relied on the close relationship both countries share to confront the challenges DR Congo faces.
“I am referring here to the security in the eastern DRC where we hope to arrive at specific results with the help of South Africa,” Tshibanda said in the South African capital Pretoria, without giving any more details.
Meanwhile, the M23 Movement, which is an extension of the M23 rebel group, has formed a semi autonomous administration structure in areas under their control in north Kivu province.
The UN on the other hand, said it will continue its work in the embattled country, as it helps fight and contain the Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) have deployed experts to support operational response, including establishment of a field laboratory and in the area of infection prevention and control in health care settings.
The tumultuous situation escalated in DR Congo after member states walked away from the Lusaka Agreement, that many thought would result in a cease-fire. Many Congolese refugees in the past decade have migrated to western Uganda, while others to the Central African Republic located between Uganda, Sudan and Chad.