Tag Archives: Congo

Fighting for 3rd day between army rebels in Congo

Congo’s army says its helicopter gunships have bombarded rebel positions during a third straight day of fighting between government forces and M23 rebels.

Congo’s army said Tuesday rebels could be seen fleeing the bombardment.

Congolese Col. Mustapha Mamadou said the army was reacting to attacks while still complying with a February peace agreement. However a statement Tuesday by the South African army, which has a battalion with the U.N. mission in Congo, said Congolese army attacks on rebel positions Sunday and Monday were “predetermined.”

Government forces say they have advanced some three kilometers.

Peace talks between the Congolese government and the M23 stalled again last week as the head of the M23 delegation complained that the head of the government delegation left the talks.

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Fighters Sneak Into Congo Disguised as Women

By John Johnson

Heavy fighting over the last two days in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed the lives of more than 100 anti-government rebels and about a dozen Congo soldiers, reports the Voice of America . It’s notable for two reasons: The more important one is that it’s the first major fighting… …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home

Kigali says two mortar bombs fired into Rwanda from DRC

Rwanda’s military spokesman said two mortar bombs were fired into the country from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday.

He said the bombs, which caused no injuries, were fired in mid-afternoon “deliberately” and blamed the DRC army – the FARDC – and the UN force MONUSCO on the grounds they were fired from territory they control.

“Two bombs landed at Kageshi and Gasiza,” Joseph Nzabamwita said in a statement, referring to two villages in Rubavu district in northwestern Rwanda which borders the troubled eastern DR Congo.

Nzabamwita said the attack was a “provocative and deliberate act by FARDC and MONUSCO since there was no fighting nearby between the warring factions.”

His accusation came amid fierce clashes across the border between the DRC army and M23 rebels, which flared again Sunday around the flashpoint Congolese city of Goma, leaving at least 130 dead, according to a government spokesman.

Rwanda, along with neighbouring Uganda, has been accused of backing the M23, a charge both countries have denied.

Meanwhile Kigali has accused the DRC of co-operating with Rwandan Hutu rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) whose leaders are wanted for their alleged involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Nzabamwita said the army had “credible information” that FDLR rebels were “currently embedded” in the DRC army.

The M23 briefly seized control of Goma, the capital of DRC’s North Kivu province last November but then pulled out.

The rebel group has since been weakened by an outright split into two factions and ensuing internal fighting that resulted in heavy casualties and a wave of desertions.

Talks in the Ugandan capital Kampala destined to restore calm to North Kivu started in December but have made little headway.

Since the talks started the only outbreak of fighting recorded between M23 and the army was in May.

The M23 however is just one of a myriad of armed groups operating in eastern Congo and other groups are involved in skirmishes and abuses against the civilian population on a regular basis.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

DR Congo says 130 dead in army-rebel clashes

At least 130 people have been killed, including 10 soldiers, in ongoing clashes between army forces and rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said Monday.

“Our forces have inflicted very heavy losses on the M23 fighters, 120 have been killed and 12 captured,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said, referring to fighting that broke out over the weekend.

Mende said that 10 soldiers had also died in the clashes, which erupted on Sunday in North Kivu province between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels.

UN soldiers did not intervene, Mende stressed.

“The toll from these skirmishes is not yet definitive but until now the army forces have responded with bravery and efficiency to this attack,” said Mende.

Army forces also managed to recapture previously rebel-held positions as they fled, said the spokesman.

Some 2,000 soldiers were reportedly deployed during the fighting but Mende declined to confirm this figure.

A heavily armed brigade of some 3,000 UN troops with more power to fight renegade forces than ever before has recently been dispatched to the region.

The troops, drawn in equal numbers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, are joining about 17,000 UN soldiers already deployed in the area with a limited mandate to protect civilians and themselves only.

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Italian senator compares black minister to orangutan

A senator from Italy’s anti-immigration Northern League has come under fire for saying Cecile Kyenge, the country’s first black minister, resembles an orangutan.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta said the remark by Senator Roberto Calderoli on Saturday was “unacceptable”.

“I love animals… but when I see pictures of Kyenge, I cannot help thinking of similarities with an orangutan,” he was quoted as saying at a party meeting in the northern city of Treviglio.

The remark went viral in social media, sparking widespread denunciation.

Letta said in a communique Sunday: “The words reported today in the press attributed to Senator Calderoli regarding Cecile Kyenge are unacceptable and go beyond all limits.”

Khalid Chaouki and Gianni Cuperlo, two lawmakers from the centre-left Democratic Party, demanded the resignation of Calderoni, who is deputy speaker of the Senate.

“The remarks addressed to Minister Kyenge are not worthy of a man who represents our institutions,” Cuperlo said.

Calderoli is famous for his provocative comments and actions. In 2006, he was forced to resign from the government of then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi after wearing a T-shirt printed with cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.

Since the Democratic Republic of Congo-born Kyenge took up her post as integration minister earlier this year she has faced numerous expressions of hostility from the Northern League, which is allied with Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party but is now in opposition.

She has been the subject of verbal slurs and death threats posted on racist social media sites and even on her own Facebook page.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

60,000 Congolese flee to Uganda after rebel attack

An aid group says about 60,000 Congolese have fled to Uganda after a rebel attack on a town by the border, stretching humanitarian capacities.

Catherine Ntabadde of the Uganda Red Cross said Sunday that her organization had already registered 41,000 refugees and that 20,000 more are yet to be registered.

The refugee influx continues three days after a Ugandan-led rebel group attacked the Kamango town and killed some people on Thursday, according to Ugandan military officials.

That group — the Allied Democratic Forces — had been hibernating in the jungles of eastern Congo for years since a military assault ousted it from Ugandan territory. It was formed in the early 1990s by Ugandan Muslims who want to install Shariah law in Uganda and who staged deadly terrorist attacks in the 1990s.

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Official: Tanzania shocked by Darfur killings

Tanzania’s deputy foreign minister says the killing of seven Tanzanian peacekeepers in Sudan’s western region of Darfur is “shocking to Tanzania.”

Mahadhi Juma Maalim said Sunday that Tanzanian officials were yet to get full details of the ambush Saturday in which 17 others were also wounded in the deadliest single attack on international peacekeepers in Sudan. He said the assault on the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeepers was by a large group of men with machine guns.

Maalim said the government was studying the situation in Darfur and would notify families of the slain soldiers.

Tanzania has recently become more active in regional peacekeeping missions. Last year it was the first to offer to send troops to eastern Congo under what will become an offensive brigade of U.N. peacekeepers there.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Congolese fleeing to Uganda top 55,000: Red Cross

More than 55,000 refugees from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have arrived in Uganda after fleeing a rebel attack, Red Cross officials said on Sunday, a dramatic rise from earlier estimates.

“Given such numbers there is need for urgent humanitarian assistance, as some of the refugees are sick and have left all their belongings in Congo,” Uganda Red Cross official Catherine Ntabadde told AFP.

Tallies made late Saturday estimated 55,000 refugees had crossed the border, up from 30,000 the day before, she added.

Refugees have streamed across the border into western Uganda’s Bundibugyo district since the attack on Thursday, although the numbers of new arrivals crossing on Sunday had slowed to a trickle.

“Many new arrivals are also reported to be staying in the community,” United Nations refugee agency official Karen Ringuette said. “New arrivals are staying at five primary schools and various other sites.”

Thousands crowded into the grounds of schools in Bundibugyo — about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the border with Congo — offered as a temporary shelter, with many building makeshift shelters or simply sleeping out in the open.

The Red Cross are working with the United Nations and other aid agencies to set up a camp further inside Uganda, although many refugees appeared reluctant to leave.

“The (Ugandan)government has found a transit camp eight kilometres (five miles) from Bundibugyo town … There we can start registering them afresh,” Ntabadde said.

However, an AFP photographer said that long lines of refugees crossing into Uganda seen in recent days had declined, and that large crowds were waiting to return back into DR Congo.

Ugandan police however were encouraging people to move to the new camp, refugees said.

The town of Kamango in the northernmost part of DR Congo’s North Kivu province was attacked and briefly occupied Thursday by a Ugandan-led rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

Residents of Kamango said that public buildings and the hospital had been pillaged but no toll was given of possible casualties.

In Bundibugyo, refugees carried their belongings piled on their heads, including rolled-up mattresses, cooking pots and chickens.

Some refugees complained that while they had seen food delivered by the UN World Food Programme, they had not yet received any.

“We have nothing to eat, because when we ran from the rebels we could only grab what we had around us and could carry,” said Teresa Zaki, who fled from Kamango on Thursday.

The ADF was formed in the mid-1990s in the Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda, close to the DR Congo border.

Part of the ADF is now based in DR Congo after Ugandan government forces attacked their bases two years ago.

It has been relatively quiet in recent years, and it was not immediately clear what sparked the ADF attack on Kamango.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News