Newscast Media WASHINGTON—According to a statement released by the UN spokesperson Eduardo del Buey, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO), expressed on Monday the organization’s concerns about clashes in Congo, stressing “the mission is actively pursuing a diplomatic and political solution to contain and end the clashes.”
According to Press TV, the statement also said that heavy weapons and rocket launchers were used in the clashes.
“The Mission reports that initial skirmishes escalated to the use of heavy
caliber weapons, mortars and rocket launchers,” the statement said.
Monday morning, Congolese soldiers clashed with the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels for the first time in nearly six months since the rebels retreated from the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.
Fighting began after the M23 rebels attacked government positions around 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of the mineral-rich city, according to army spokesman Olivier Hamuli.
The fighting comes after the UN began deploying an attack force to the east last week to neutralize armed groups in the area. The UN has nearly 20,000 peacekeepers in eastern Congo.
Several armed groups, including the March 23 movement (M23) rebels, are active in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and fighting for the control of the country’s vast mineral resources.
The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.
Since early May 2012, nearly 3 million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but more than 460,000 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 Security Council has approved the first “offensive” UN force to battle rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Deutsche Welle. The resolution gave the 2,500-troop force orders to “neutralize” and “disarm” armed groups like M23, in the east of the country. The brigade and surveillance drones to monitor the Democratic Republic of Congo’s borders will be operating by July, UN
The force will act “in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law,” according to the resolution, to “prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and to disarm them.”
The brigade will comprise three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special forces and a reconnaissance company with headquarters in Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital. The UN campaign aims to end conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo’s border regions with Rwanda and Uganda.
According to Reuters, South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi are the most likely candidates to supply the troops for the intervention unit. Mozambique had also been tipped to be part of the new unit but it will likely not be part of the new brigade.
The resolution also states that the intervention brigade will be made up of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one special force and reconnaissance company headquartered in Goma under the direct command of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as MONUSCO.
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—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 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 WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Democratic Republic of Congo continues to experience genocide and occupation by rebel groups with an estimated 5.4 million Congolese dead as a result of the unending war. The US has kept silent, after all, 5.4 million Congolese aren’t enough dead Africans to warrant intervention. Maybe once the number reaches 10 million, then the US and its western allies will consider
the lives of these sub-Saharan Africans worthy of protection the M23 rebel groups.
Perhaps since the West is fond of selling the over-population myth, could it be that these endless wars in Africa (Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Congo, Libya, Egypt, Sudan), are being used as a contraceptive, hence the lack of intervention?
The New York Times reports: “A big factor will be neighboring Rwanda, which is widely suspected of arming the M23 and sending Rwandan soldiers to fight covertly alongside the rebels.” The same article continues by quoting rebels vowing to seize Kinshasa, the capital city.
“We’re going to Kinshasa!” vowed Col. Vianney Kazarama, a spokesman for the M23 rebel group, according this New York Times article.
Hillary Clinton squandered several opportunities she had to mobilize a peace-keeping force that would secure the well-being of the Congolese people. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, he too did nothing to speak out against the Tutsi genocide in which almost 1,000,000 Tutsis were slaughtered.
Human rights groups and social service workers like Shamus Cooke believe Obama is intentionally silent because he wants Joseph Kabila removed. In an article published by Tehran Times Cooke writes:
“Kabila distanced himself from U.S. puppets Rwanda and Uganda, not to mention the U.S. dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The IMF, for example, warned Kabila against a strategic infrastructural and development aid package with China, but Kabila shrugged them off. The Economist explains:
“…[The Congo] appears to have gained the upper hand in a row with foreign donors over a mining and infrastructure package worth $9 billion that was agreed a year ago with China. The IMF objected to it, on the ground that it would saddle Congo with a massive new debt, so [the IMF] is delaying forgiveness of most of the $10 billion-plus that Congo already owes.
“If Obama and/or the UN made one public statement about militarily defending the elected Congolese government against invasion, the M23 militia would have never acted.
“Human Rights Watch and other groups have correctly labeled the M23′s commanders as responsible for “ethnic massacres, recruitment of children, mass rape, killings, abductions and torture.
“It’s likely that the Obama administration will jump into action as soon as his M23 allies complete their military objective of regime change, and re-open the Congo’s military wealth to U.S. corporations to profit from,” Shamus Cooke concludes his article in the Tehran Times.
The so-called peace talks between neighboring countries are a joke—it’s theatrics. The U.S. together with NATO toppled Gadhafi under the pretext of protecting Libyans from atrocities. The current attempt to remove Assad, we are told, is to prevent the genocide he is committing against his own citizens. Yet when Congolese are killed by the millions, intervention to prevent additional deaths is not justified. Absurd!
Africa’s curse has always been its leaders—whether by descent, or by birth.
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.
Newscast Media STOCKHOLM—Sweden has become the latest country to freeze aid to Rwanda, due to allegations that the Rwandan government is supporting M23 rebel fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have caused instability in the region. According to Deutsche Welle News, Swedish foreign ministry spokesperson Eva Sundquist said that Rwanda should “take up its responsibilities for the development of the region.” Deutsche Welle reported that Swedish aid to Rwanda amounted to about 215 million kronor (26 million euros, $32.2 million) in 2011.
“We have chosen to hold off with aid to shed light on what is going on in Congo and how they (the Rwandan authorities) are involved,” Swedish Cooperation Minister Gunilla Carlsson told Swedish Radio News on Monday, and was also reported by Deutsche Welle.
United States warns about possible charging of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame
The United States is another country that recently withheld aid from the embattled African country, and has warned Kagame that he could be charged with war crimes and face prosecution for arming groups that carried out atrocities in Democratic Republic of Congo. The US has previously been a supporter of President Kagame, however, there is a radical shift, and the opposite is now happening. The UK Guardian explains that the previous support by the US was out of guilt for not doing anything to prevent over 800,000 Rwandese from being massacred in the genocide that happened in 1994.
The United Nations report
The most devastating piece of information about Rwanda’s support for the M23 rebels comes from a recently-released report by the United Nations. The report in part says:
” Since the outset of its current mandate, the Group has gathered evidence of arms
embargo and sanctions regime violations committed by the Rwandan Government.
These violations consist of the provision of material and financial support to armed
groups operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the
recently established M23, in contravention of paragraph 1 of Security Council
resolution 1807 (2008). 2 The arms embargo and sanctions regimes violations
include the following:
• Direct assistance in the creation of M23 through the transport of weapons and
soldiers through Rwandan territory
• Recruitment of Rwandan youth and demobilized ex-combatants as well as
Congolese refugees for M23
• Provision of weapons and ammunition to M23
• Mobilization and lobbying of Congolese political and financial leaders for the benefit
• Direct Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) interventions into Congolese territory to
• Support to several other armed groups as well as Forces armées de la République
démocratique du Congo (FARDC) mutinies in the eastern Congo
• Violation of the assets freeze and travel ban through supporting sanctioned
Kagame denies any involvement in genocide
Rwanda denied any wrongdoing even before the entire UN report was released, and issued a statement saying rumors circulating about Rwanda’s involvement in the eastern DRC are false. Regional leaders plan to meet in four weeks to coming up with actionable steps to ensure that fighting stops completely in DR Congo.
Video courtesy France 24