Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Western envoys in Kinshasa have urged the Senate of the Democratic Republic of Congo to rethink electoral law changes after three days of deadly protests. Rights groups put the toll at 42 killed; the government says 12, according to Deutsche Welle (DW) news.
DW reports that a Congolese electoral law change seen by critics as a bid by President Joseph Kabila to extend his term beyond 2016 ran into foreign objections on Thursday as the nation’s Senate prepared to vote on the bill.
Diplomats said the envoys of the United States, France, Britain and former colonial power Belgium had met Senate President Leon Kengo Wa Dondo in Kinshasa on Wednesday. FULL STORY>>
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 KIGALI—From one president to another, Barack Obama placed a call to Rwanda’s Paul Kagame to underscore that any support to Congolese rebel group M23 is “inconsistent with Rwanda’s desire for stability and peace” in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and advised Kagame to abide by commitments made in November to permanently “end all support for armed groups” in the country.
Obama told Kagame that it is important to reach “a transparent and credible political agreement that includes an end to impunity for M23 commanders and others who have committed serious human rights abuses” and that the crisis in eastern DRC should be resolved by a “political agreement that addresses the underlying regional security, economic and governance issues while upholding the DRC’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
An estimated 5 million people have been killed and millions displaced since 1998 by a variety of rebel groups battling to control the eastern DRC. In 2012, a new group of rebels rose up. Known as the M23 that has created instability in the region.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters December 18 that the Obama administration is continuing to call for Ntaganda’s arrest, as well as that of Sylvestre Mudacumura, who is also charged with committing atrocities and has been issued an ICC warrant.
“The current conflict in the eastern Congo with M23 underscores the continuing impunity the perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses continue to enjoy in the Congo,” Nuland said.
Along with identifying individuals on the ground who commit abuses and subjecting them to U.S. sanctions, Nuland said, the United States is also reviewing its list of those who are aiding and abetting armed groups for possible sanctions designation. “We look at the whole landscape,” Nuland said.
If Kagame fails to heed Obama’s advice, the next phase, as was pointed out by the State Department’s Victoria Nuland is to subject those aiding and abetting the rebels to sanctions. Finally, after that phase, as we saw in Libya and are seeing in the Middle East, the next step usually points to regime change.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson has urged the Congolese government to put into place measures that will protect the people of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from rebel invasion. Carson said the M23 rebel commanders “represent a ‘who’s who’ of notorious human rights abusers” in the eastern DRC.
“We are urging President Kabila to undertake a credible effort to professionalize and reform the Congolese security forces,” Carson said. “At the same time, we are making clear that the Congolese government must accelerate its efforts to deploy and strengthen state institutions and provide needed public services in the Kivus. The extension of effective governance, combined with legitimate provincial elections, is necessary for a lasting peace.”
Carson told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights during a December 11 hearing, that Rwanda was behind arming the M23 rebels who are destabilizing Congo.
“There is a credible body of evidence that shows that the Rwandan government has been supplying M23 with significant military and logistical support, as well as operational and political guidance,” Carson said at the hearing.
He also confirmed that the United States has suspended foreign military financing funds to Rwanda and is pressing Rwanda’s leaders to end all forms of support to Congolese armed groups.
Newscast Media KAMPALA, Uganda—Newscast Media promised to update our readers about developments in the embattled Democratic Republic of Congo. Some more exciting news from the region is that the UN has approved a 4,000-strong military force to maintain stability, and if necessary, these combatants will militarily engage any outside elements attempting to destabilize the area.
The 4,000 soldiers are an amalgamation of African Union troops who will maintain a neutral stance and ensure life goes back to normal within the entire eastern region, as reported by Uganda’s state-owned New Vision paper.
The UN had 17,000 troops in the Congo that did absolutely nothing to stop the rebels from overrunning towns and villages, and simply watched Africans lose their lives to the savagery of the M23 rebels.
The approval of 4,000 combatants who will prevent atrocities from occurring comes as splendid news, in time for Christmas, for all Congolese and neighboring countries. For their part, the rebels are already pulling out of Goma and Sake, the cities they had previously held captive. This is a very good and honorable gesture by all who have brought about the peaceful withdrawal from Congo.
Hopefully this brings an end to the Congo nightmare, and a fresh beginning for the Congolese people to pursue their dreams and to also live in peace.
Finally M23 rebels have agreed to withdraw from the DR Congo
Newscast Media KAMPALA—The Ugandan government through Uganda’s Chief of Defense Forces, issued a statement that said the M23 rebels had agreed to withdraw from the Democratic Republic of Congo without pre-conditions.
Newscast Media reported on Monday, how the war in the DRC was escalating, accordingly, we have to give credit where credit is due, for all those who negotiated not only a ceasefire, but also a full withdrawal from the region by the rebel invaders.
In a statement published in Uganda’s state-owned New Vision paper, the Chief of Defense Forces Aronda Nyakayimira said, “We met last night [Monday] and I communicated to him [the rebel leader] the decision of regional leaders reached on Saturday and he accepted to pull back his forces out of Goma and Sake and also stop any further advances southward.
“He didn’t put up any conditions for pulling out because he agreed that all their grievances will be resolved in the ICGLR (Great Lakes) mechanism as stipulated in the declarations of the Saturday summit (in Kampala),” Nyakamira told the New Vision paper.
Hopefully this time the rebels will be as good as their word, since in the past they have broken such agreed-upon conditions, particularly the Lusaka Agreement. The withdrawal should be from the entire DR Congo, not just Goma and the surrounding eastern regions of the country.
Newscast Media will continue to monitor the situation in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and will update our readers should any further developments occur.