Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

ENCORE!

Haute Couture: the hand-stitched clothing made in Paris that sells for the price of small yachts

Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Netanyahu resists international pressure to stop air strikes on Gaza

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

  • Kurdish forces take over two oilfields in northern Iraq

    Read more

  • Are French high school students getting smarter?

    Read more

  • Italy’s Trentin wins seventh stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Disgraced Suarez leaves Liverpool for Barcelona

    Read more

  • In pictures: Chanel, Dior and so much more at the Paris couture shows

    Read more

  • French ‘Civic Service’ eyes massive expansion amid huge demand

    Read more

  • In Pictures: Petrol station hit by Hamas rockets

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

Africa

DR Congo rebels 'take control' of key city Goma

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-11-20

The Congolese rebel group M23 marched into the strategic eastern city of Goma on Tuesday, declaring the city is "in our hands". Earlier, M23 captured Goma's airport after days of intense fighting with government troops.

Congo’s M23 rebels took control of the eastern city of Goma after days of clashes with UN-backed Congolese soldiers, a spokesman for the rebel group said on Tuesday.

A Reuters witness saw scores of heavily armed rebels walking through the city unchallenged as UN peacekeepers watched and small groups of residents greeted them.
 
“The town of Goma fell at 11:33 local time; despite the attack helicopters, despite the heavy weapons, the FARDC (Congo army) has let the town fall into our hands,” M23 spokesman Colonel Vianney Kazarama said by telephone.
 
Reports of the capture of Goma came just hours after news broke that rebels had seized the city’s airport following several days of fighting.
 
"The airport is under the control of the M23," the UN official said on condition of anonymity, referring to the rebel group.

Rebels back by Rwanda?
 
The capture of the Goma comes a day after rebels, believed to be backed by Rwanda, said they were halting their advance on the key city to enter into peace talks with the government.
 
But government spokesman Lambert Mende told the Associated Press by phone that negotiations are out of the question, saying Congo will not give into the “blackmail” of a Rwandan-backed group.
 
“We refuse to enter into negotiations with M23. Because it’s Rwanda, not the M23, that is responsible,” said Mende, before the fall of the city on Tuesday. “If Goma falls, it’s going to create a whole other set of problems. We refuse systematically to speak to them (M23). Because if we do, it would be a way to wash away Rwanda’s responsibility.”

Goma economic heart of mineral rich region
 
Congo and Rwanda have already fought two wars, the most recent of which ended in 2003 after lasting nearly six years. On Monday, both nations accused the other of firing mortars across the narrow border that runs on one side of Goma, a city of 1 million which is the economic heart of Congo’s mineral rich region.
 
Rwandan Military Spokesman Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita said that Congolese shells had fallen on the Rwandan side, while Mende said that a mortar fired from Rwanda landed in the Birere neighborhood near the airport in Goma and wounded at least five people.
 
As tanks rumbled by, civilians, including young children, could be seen running to safety, seeking shelter in huts and behind ledges along the road where the two sides were battling.
 
Earlier, M23 rebel spokesman Col. Vianney Kazarama told the Associated Press that his men were on their way back to Kibumba, 30 kilometers (18 miles) north, in order to give proposed talks a chance. But on Monday afternoon, Kazarama blamed Congo for renewed hostilities and once again vowed that M23 would take Goma.
 
“The army provoked us. They have fired on our men ... We are going to take Goma tonight,” he said.

Rebels well-equipped
 
On Saturday, UN Peacekeeping Chief Herve Ladsous said the rebels are very well-equipped, including with night-vision equipment, allowing them to fight at night.
 
The new equipment, including the goggles as well as 120 mm mortars, were being provided by Rwanda, which also sent several battalions of fighters, according to the International Crisis Group.
 
At UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, French Ambassador Girard Araud said he would be introducing a Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the M23 rebel leadership.
 
(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2012-11-20

  • DR CONGO

    DR Congo rebels close in on Goma

    Read more

  • DR CONGO

    UN demands end to foreign support for DR Congo rebels

    Read more

  • DR CONGO

    Fresh clashes erupt between army and rebels in DR Congo

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)