Thursday, October 31, 2013

DR Congo army in 'last phase' push against M23 rebels

DR Congo army in 'last phase' push against M23 rebels

Congolese refugees who fled fighting in Bunagana in DR Congo arrive carrying some of their belongings in the Uganda's side of the border, on October 31, 2013
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Kinshasa (AFP) - Democratic Republic of Congo troops assaulted positions of the M23 rebel movement on Thursday, after seizing their last stronghold in an attempt to finally break the back of the insurgency.
Troops were carrying out mopping-up operations to rout the final pockets of rebel resistance in territory near the Ugandan border, following an offensive launched six days earlier, a local resident in the town of Jomba said, reached by telephone.
"The soldiers spent the night here and then went to the front" at dawn, the Jomba resident said, asking not to be named and adding that a little girl had "been wounded by a bullet", but giving no details.
Sustained gunfire could be heard on the phone, as the source confirmed that the warring sides were also using heavy weapons. An AFP journalist on the Ugandan side of border could hear mortar fire.
A source in the UN mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is helping the army, said the offensive against the M23 was in "the last phase", after the army captured the main rebel base at Bunagana on Wednesday.
Diehard M23 fighters, estimated at just a few hundred men, were dug in on three hills in farming territory about 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Goma, the capital of strife-torn North Kivu province.
The Congolese army (FARDC) "has encircled the residual M23 positions to dislodge them. The operation is under way," the source said.
Since fighting resumed on October 25, after peace talks collapsed in Uganda, no UN troops have directly taken part in the offensive, but MONUSCO has provided government forces with intelligence, reconnaissance and logistical help.
After the fall of the rebel headquarters at Bunagana, President Joseph Kabila on Wednesday again urged the M23 fighters to "demobilise voluntarily", warning that his men would otherwise "make them do so by force".
Kabila said that "political and diplomatic solutions" remained on the negotiating table in Uganda's capital Kampala, where the rival sides have held stop-start talks since December and their representatives expressed guarded optimism.
"The negotiations are making progress," M23's deputy delegation chief Roger Lumbala said at midday Thursday. "Maybe today, they will have finished and we can put an accord on the table to sign it."
'A Tutsi cow, an M23 cow'
The M23 was founded by ethnic Tutsi former rebels who were incorporated into the Congolese army under a 2009 peace deal. They mutinied in April 2012, claiming that the pact had never been fully implemented.
Kinshasa and the United Nations charge that M23 is backed by neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, an allegation the two neighbouring countries strongly refute.
At their strongest in November last year, M23 marched into Goma, a mining hub city of one million people, and took control for 10 days, before regional leaders persuaded them into fresh peace talks.
Conflict has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in North Kivu, a densely populated province rich in precious minerals and agricultural produce that has been a battleground for soldiers, rebels and militias for more than two decades.
Some 5,000 civilians crossed into Uganda at Bunagana between Monday and Wednesday, according to the United Nations, but on Thursday the refugees started trying to return to their homes in DR Congo.
"This morning we crossed back to go to our fields, but soldiers told us to turn round," said Imelda Nyirankusi, who had eight children in tow and a baby on her back. "We had the impression that gunshots were getting nearer."
Imelda said that she had fled Bunagana the previous day and then returned to Uganda after her bid to go back. The soldiers had "slit the throat of one of my fat cows... and eaten it, saying it was a Tutsi cow, an M23 cow," she added.
"How do you want me to go home if people kill my cows and make me feel I'm not wanted?" Imelda asked.


BBC Reporting..........

DR Congo M23 rebels 'all but finished', says UN

Government forces celebrate in Rumangabo, 28 Oct Government forces celebrate the capture of Rumangabo

The UN's special envoy in the Democratic Republic of Congo has told the organisation's Security Council that the M23 rebel movement is all but finished as a military threat.

Martin Kobler said the M23 had abandoned most military positions in the east and was confined to a small triangle close to the Rwandan border.

A fifth rebel-held area in a week fell to government forces on Monday.

The rebels say that their withdrawals are temporary.

Mr Kobler told the UN Security Council by video-link: "It is practically the military end of the M23."

He said the rebels had abandoned a key position on Mount Hehu near the Rwandan border.


There is no dispute that the M23 rebels are facing a military defeat.
The military option was not the route that regional actors and the UN favoured. But as the humanitarian crisis escalated in eastern DR Congo, a military alternative seemed acceptable, even desirable.
The Congolese army was emboldened by the deployment of a UN mission with a robust mandate to attack the rebels using helicopters.
While the military defeat of the M23 is a psychological victory for the government, the region's problems are far from over.
Ethnic-based groups, including those linked to the Rwandan genocide, still operate. A new rebel group, M18, recently emerged, adding to the complex mix of the conflict.
Several issues lie behind the unrest, including a competition for resources and a history of ethnic rivalry.
Add the involvement of regional actors in a vast area with weak state institutions and it is clear that bringing peace to eastern DR Congo is not a straightforward matter.

After the UN meeting, French ambassador Gerard Araud said he hoped there would now be talks between the rebels and the government.

He said: "Mr Kobler has briefed us and basically he told us that we are witnessing the military end of the M23.

"So I think it's a positive development of course and there was a general agreement that now we should go back to the table of negotiation in Kampala."

Peace talks between the government and M23, hosted by neighbouring Uganda, broke down last week.

There had previously been about two months of relative calm in eastern DR Congo.
'Retreating rebels'
Cheering crowds reportedly welcomed government troops on Monday as they entered Rumangabo town, where the latest M23 base to fall was located.

The government is re-establishing its rule there, said North Kivu province governor Julien Palukui.

"We have just held two meetings in order to discuss how to uplift the population... and we are announcing the restoration of the civil service within the next 24 hours,'' he added.

Rumangabo - about 50km (30 miles) north of Goma, the main city in eastern DR Congo - had one of the three biggest military bases in DR Congo before it fell to the rebels last year.

There is no doubt that the government forces have achieved huge victories over the rebels, says the BBC's Maud Jullien in the capital, Kinshasa.


The UN has deployed a new intervention brigade to eastern DR Congo with a stronger mandate to confront armed groups.

On Sunday, the UN mission in DR Congo, Monusco, said a Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed during fighting with the M23 in the town of Kiwanja.

"The soldier died while protecting the people of Kiwanja," Monusco said in a statement.

The military success in Rumangabo followed the capture of four other areas - Kiwanja, Rutshuru, Buhumba and Kibumba - since the weekend, the army said.

M23 officials in Uganda said their fighters had retreated because government and UN forces had launched a joint assault, reports the BBC's Ignatius Bahizi from Uganda's capital, Kampala.

Rebel forces were outnumbered, they said.

M23 fighters planned to regroup before making their next move, the officials added.

At least 800,000 people have fled their homes in DR Congo since the M23 launched its rebellion in April 2012, the UN humanitarian agency, Ocha, says.

The rebels briefly occupied eastern DR Congo's main town, Goma, in November 2012 before pulling out under international pressure.

The M23 are mainly ethnic Tutsis, like most of Rwanda's leaders.

Rwanda and Uganda deny persistent Congolese and UN allegations that the neighbours are backing the rebel forces.

Eastern DR Congo has been wracked by conflict since 1994, when Hutu militias fled across the border from Rwanda after carrying out a genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus.


Democratic Republic of Congo profile

Map of DR Congo

A vast country with immense economic resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has been at the centre of what could be termed Africa's world war. This has left it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. The five-year conflict pitted government forces, supported by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe, against rebels backed by Uganda and Rwanda.

Despite a peace deal and the formation of a transitional government in 2003, people in the east of the country remain in terror of marauding militias and the army.

The war claimed an estimated three million lives, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. It has been called possibly the worst emergency to unfold in Africa in recent decades.

The war had an economic as well as a political side. Fighting was fuelled by the country's vast mineral wealth, with all sides taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder natural resources.

At a glance

  • DR Congo is struggling to recover from Africa's ''world war'' in which millions died between 1998 and 2003
  • Former rebels joined a power-sharing government
  • Eastern regions are still volatile despite 2013 peace agreement
  • DR Congo hosts the UN's largest peacekeeping mission
Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring

The history of DR Congo has been one of civil war and corruption. After independence in 1960, the country immediately faced an army mutiny and an attempt at secession by its mineral-rich province of Katanga.

A year later, its prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, was seized and killed by troops loyal to army chief Joseph Mobutu.

In 1965 Mobutu seized power, later renaming the country Zaire and himself Mobutu Sese Seko. He turned Zaire into a springboard for operations against Soviet-backed Angola and thereby ensured US backing. But he also made Zaire synonymous with corruption.

After the Cold War, Zaire ceased to be of interest to the US. Thus, when in 1997 neighbouring Rwanda invaded it to flush out extremist Hutu militias, it gave a boost to the anti-Mobutu rebels, who quickly captured the capital, Kinshasa, installed Laurent Kabila as president and renamed the country DR Congo.

Nonetheless, DR Congo's troubles continued. A rift between Mr Kabila and his former allies sparked a new rebellion, backed by Rwanda and Uganda. Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe took Kabila's side, turning the country into a vast battleground.

DR Congo's conflicts

DR Congolese army soldier watches as men pass him on the street in the rebel zone near Kibati, in the Nord-Kivu region of DR Congo
  • Enyele rebels in Equateur: Decades-old conflict over fishing rights evolved into ethnic tussle for economic and political power in north-west. Some 200,000 refugees have fled violence since 2009
  • Ugandan rebels in north-east: Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels remain active here and in neighbouring countries, raping and killing
  • Rwandan rebels in the Kivus: Hutu and Tutsi rebel militia operate in North and South Kivu. The UN oversaw a peace agreement in 2013 with the M23 Movement, which it says is backed by Rwanda and Uganda
  • Ituri rebels near oil finds: North-eastern province has been quiet since a 2007 peace accord, encouraging oil firms to tap reserves in Lake Albert on Ugandan border.

Coup attempts and sporadic violence heralded renewed fighting in the eastern part of the country in 2008. Rwandan Hutu militias clashed with government forces in April, displacing thousands of civilians.

Another militia under rebel General Laurent Nkunda had signed a peace deal with the government in January, but clashes broke out again in August. Gen Nkunda's forces advanced on government bases and the provincial capital Goma in the autumn, causing civilians and troops to flee while UN peacekeepers tried to hold the line alongside the remaining government forces.

In an attempt to bring the situation under control, the government in January 2009 invited in troops from Rwanda to help mount a joint operation against the Rwandan rebel Hutu militias active in eastern DR Congo.

Rwanda arrested the Hutu militias' main rival, Gen Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi hitherto seen as its main ally in the area.

In early 2013 the UN secured a regional agreement to end the M23 rebellion in eastern areas, and the group's alleged founder Bosco Ntaganda surrendered to the International Criminal Court to face war-crimes charges.

Rwanda and Uganda denied UN accusations that they had supported the M23 group, but the region remains volatile.


Tracy John Kimambo“


Oct 31 at 4:06 AM

Herment Mrema


Oct 31 at 9:04 AM

These two "noble" men survive on conflict.  That is what makes them exist.  Till death take care of them I am afraid they will create another mutiny, and another as long as they have bags of natural resources stolen from Congo to bankroll the so called forces against undemocratic regime of CDR.

The solution to end the war is to get rid of the two big men and nothing else.


Herment A. Mrema


Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 12:37:41 +0300



Being belligerent fella, and having been engaged in a number of provocative moves to his eastern neighbor, I guess his dreams are telling him to go east. This will certainly mark the end of barbaric rule

On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM, Tracy John Kimambo wrote:

“As Goma fell to Rwanda’s troops President Museveni of Uganda and President Kagame of Rwanda, both condemnable co-authors of this latest outrage against the Congolese people, met President Kabila of DRC in Kampala in a sham diplomacy designed to serve him with a fait accompli and an ultimatum to accept M23 as a Congolese organization with legitimate demands. Even then, Kagame must know this: it will be a futile exercise since, like all his ventures in DRC, he will be forced to abandon it, leaving with bags of coltan, diamonds and gold, and behind him a trail of blood, tears and sweat of Rwandans and Congolese. DRC will, sooner than later, prove to be Paul Kagame’s Achilles heel, as wars that he has perpetuated abroad finally reverberate on the hills of Rwanda. This worst case scenario is not inevitable, but the time to act to prevent continuing bloodshed is now.”

Since then more Congolese and Rwandan blood has been shed and millions of Congolese people displaced.

The last few days have been , like most events in the Great Lakes region, very dramatic. Kagame’s proxy creation, the M23, has, according to Martin Kobler, the United Nations Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo, “seen its military end.” M23s fortunes, essentially Kagame’s, are confined to “a small triangle close to the Rwandan border.” The last 12 months have been what in Latin is termed, “Annus Horribilis” or a horrible year for His Excellency Paul Kagame.

It is too early to write an epitaph on Kagame’s dangerous and costly ventures in DRC. However, it is clear that times have changed, and that the game-changers are South Africa and Tanzania as SADC’s Force Intervention Brigade, coupled with renewed commitment of the Congolese Army. It is this new factor that makes both President Kagame and President Museveni, long used to have free but disruptive hands in DRC, very uneasy and scrambling for ways to respond to the new realities.

How will President Kagame respond?

 First, Kagame looks at Rwanda, Congolese and African people as ‘expendables’ in his quest for maintaining his dictatorial power in Rwanda, and projecting it into DRC. For now, he might decide to sacrifice the Congolese Tutsi in M23, take them into Uganda and Rwanda as refugees, and disarm them. Like Generals Nkunda ( under ‘house arrest’ in Rwanda) and Ntaganda ( now in ICC), General Makenga and his colleagues are indeed an endangered species. Knowing Kagame’s psychology, he has , most likely, passed a death sentence to these officers to whom he gave a mission impossible.

Second, he might relocate the remnants of the M23 to south Kivu. Unfortunately, the Tutsi of south Kivu, namely the Banyamulenge, have suffered enough from Kagame’s opportunistic actions in DRC and are not likely to render support to such an adventure.

Third, as has happened in the past, when his enterprise in DRC has suffered setbacks, President Museveni has come to his rescue through sham peace talks under what is called International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). President Kagame and President Museveni use the ICGLR to buy time, and obstruct the role of the African Union, and to fight the SADC (South Africa and Tanzania) presence in DRC.

Fourth, President Museveni and President Kagame have been working hard to lure President Kenyatta into their shrinking sphere of influence and isolate Tanzania in the East African Community. Weakened and frustrated, Museveni and Kagame will most likely deepen the tempo of this action.

Fifth, where other people’s lives are involved, Kagame is a dangerous risk-taker and gambler who can take precipitate actions without considering the costs. He might, as his Ambassador at the United Nations threatened last Friday, decide to launch a full invasion into DRC, repeating the 1996/97/98 cycle. He now knows the consequences of facing South African and Tanzanian troops, a Kagame-weary international community, a more effective Congolese Army, a Congolese state that is striving to be united at the top, a Congolese public that is united against Kagame’s violence, a hostile Congolese Tutsi community that is now aware that they are being manipulated by Kagame for his selfish agenda, and a Rwandan nation that is opposed to his war-making at home and abroad. Yet, like a losing gambler, Kagame will often raise the stakes in pursuit of his objectives. That is what happened in 1994 when he decided to shoot down the plane, killing President Habyarimana and triggering the genocide. That is what happened in 2001 when, under his orders, President Laurent Kabila of DRC was assassinated.

Within the next two years, as President Kagame’s horizons shrink regionally, internationally, and further with Rwanda, the prospects for civil war within Rwanda will correspondingly increase. Kagame has made enough enemies in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region. In the absence of an African and international effort to compel Kagame to talk peace to his political and armed opponents ( including FDLR), these enemies will find just cause and opportunity to take arms against Kagame’s regime, and the consequences will be catastrophic.

Now that Africans through SADC have demonstrated that Africans can make a difference in DRC, this is not the time to sit and relax. What the 20,000-strong, 1.5 billion U.S. $ a year, United Nations MONUSCO could not do over 10 years, Tanzania and South Africa have been able to do in a few months.

SADC should remain deployed in DRC until a peaceful and lasting solution is found for DRC and Rwanda.

Once gain, to reiterate my earlier thought:

 “DRC will, sooner than later, prove to be Paul Kagame’s Achilles heel, as wars that he has perpetuated abroad finally reverberate on the hills of Rwanda. This worst case scenario is not inevitable, but the time to act to prevent continuing bloodshed is now”

How prophetic!

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DR Congo army captures last stronghold of M23 rebels

DR Congo army captures last stronghold of M23 rebels


Kinshasa (AFP) - DR Congo troops on Wednesday captured the last stronghold of M23 rebels in the troubled east of the country, raising hopes of a return to the negotiating table.

Bunagana, the rebels' main base located in the lush green hills near the border with Uganda, "is completely under our control", government spokesman Lambert Mende told AFP, adding that the final battle for the town had begun early in the morning.

The rebels either fled into the mountains or crossed into neighbouring Uganda after the rout, Mende said.

An official of the UN mission in the country also confirmed that troops had taken control of the town some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Goma, a major mining hub and the capital of North Kivu province.

Troops and tanks had surrounded the nearby town of Rutshuru on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday's assault, the army said.

The fall of Bunagana comes a day after Martin Kobler, the head of the peacekeeping mission known as MONUSCO, declared that the push by troops signalled "practically the military end of M23".

In the Ugandan capital Kampala, which is hosting stop-start peace talks, representatives from both sides voiced guarded optimism for progress on the negotiating front.

Francois Muamba, representing Kinshasa, said: "If what we have put on the table is accepted by the M23, with or without pressure, I think things will move forward."

M23 delegate Roger Lumbala was even more sanguine, saying negotiators were "putting the final touches to a deal proposed by Ugandan mediators. I think... tomorrow or the next day we'll have signatures on this agreement."

Bertrand Bisimwa, M23's political leader who fled by helicopter to Uganda, is due to take part in the Kampala talks.

In Kinshasa however, DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, while saying that "political and diplomatic solutions" were still on the table, warned that if the rebels did not voluntarily disband, he would have "no other choice but to make them do so by force".

The M23 was founded by former Tutsi rebels who were incorporated into the Congolese army under a 2009 peace deal they said was never fully implemented.

They mutinied in April 2012, turning their guns on their former comrades in North Kivu, a province rich in minerals and agricultural produce that armed groups have fought over for more than two decades.

At least 5,000 have fled to Uganda

At the height of their military strength, the M23 rebels were able to capture Goma for 10 days last November, before withdrawing as a precondition for the Kampala peace talks, which began on December 9.

Intermittent fighting has persisted ever since, with a new flareup last Friday after a two-month lull.

A joint offensive by the government and a UN intervention brigade to push back the rebels began in earnest at the weekend.

Government troops quickly took control of a military base at Rumangabo used by the rebels and recaptured another town, Kiwanja, on their way to Rutshuru and finally Bunagana.

At the Rumangabo base, one soldier held in captivity by the M23 for nearly a year with up to 200 others described how the prisoners were "badly treated".

From time to time rebels came and "took people, certainly to kill them because we have never to this day seen them again", said Major James Mwendangabo.

In the nearby market, 26-year-old Jacques Kagura said he was happy to see the rebels leave.

"We suffered with the M23... Some people are still afraid to come back because we know that the M23 likes war whereas we are more reserved."

At least 5,000 people have fled into Uganda to escape the fighting.

That figure could double, warned Lucy Beck, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

"We are predicting up to 10,000 people would have crossed by tomorrow, because the fighting seems to be going on very close to the border... People are continuing to cross even as we speak," she said Wednesday.

Other aid groups estimated that around 22,500 people had left their homes since Friday to move closer to Goma.

Alarmed by the renewed violence, the West called for restraint, with the United States warning that the conflict could submerge the whole region.

The United Nations and numerous rights groups have accused the M23 of atrocities including rape and murder.

Both Kinshasa and the United Nations allege that Uganda and Rwanda have backed the rebels, a claim both countries reject.


Congo army says hunting rebels deep into mountain bases


Congolese soldiers arrive atop a tank in Bunagana
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Congolese soldiers arrive atop a tank in Bunagana, north of Goma October 30, 2013. REUTERS/Kenny Kat …

By Kenny Katombe
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - C ongo's army said on Thursday it was hunting rebels deep into forests and mountains along the border with Rwanda and Uganda, the last insurgent hideouts after they were driven from towns they held during a 20-month rebellion.
Ugandan mediators said talks had restarted on Wednesday in Kampala between the government and M23 rebels, but Kinshasa's U.N.-backed army appears on the verge of defeating the most serious uprising to plague the mineral-rich east since the end of the last major war a decade ago.
"We are going to pursue M23 and push them into a corner, wherever they hide, because they are criminals," Congo army spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli told Reuters.
"We must not leave them time (to reorganise) because they have martyred the Congolese people for too long. Now is the time to bring peace," Hamuli said.
M23 officials said they withdrew from towns under diplomatic pressure. Bertrand Bissimwa, M23's political leader, told French radio RFI that the military losses would not alter their demands in talks.
Clashes were reported in the hills above Bunagana, the last rebel-controlled town to fall this week, and around Runyoni, a hill that was the birthplace of the rebellion last year.
At their peak last November, M23 occupied the regional capital, Goma, after the army fled and rebels marched past peacekeepers. This defeat led to the U.N. force and mandate being bolstered, an overhaul of Congo's army command and pressure on rebel support, changing the tide of the fighting.
While the deep roots of conflict - ranging from the presence of Rwandan Hutu rebels, ethnic tensions and simmering conflicts over land and minerals - remain, the pace of the advance of Congo's army is unprecedented.
"The M23 may be nearing its end," Jason Stearns, a Congo expert, wrote on his blog, Congo Siasa. "This would be historic - it would be the first time the Congolese government had defeated a major rebellion."
"And it would be the first time since 1996 that an armed group allied to Rwanda is not present in the eastern Congo."
U.N. experts and human rights groups have repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing M23, the latest in a series of rebellions in eastern Congo that has been linked to Rwanda's political and military elite.
Rwanda, which has repeatedly sent its army into Congo on the pretext of hunting Hutu rebels who fled there after the 1994 genocide, denies the accusation.
Residents poured into the streets of Bunagana on Wednesday to welcome Congo's army, which is better known for its chaotic command and poor discipline than lightening advance.
"We have spent a year with M23, we could never imagine that one day we would be liberated by the army," said a resident in Bunagana, the border town that provided rebels with funding from cross-border taxation and unfettered access to neighbours.
"We have lived in terror (with M23), we were traumatised."
Diplomats say a political deal is needed alongside the military gains to ensure progress is not reversed by rebels returning, as they have in the past, due to frustrations over the Kinshasa government's poor handling of its remote regions.
Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for Uganda's army and the mediation team, said progress was being made at talks between the two sides though questions remained over which rebels would be granted an amnesty.
"Technical committees are reviewing all the remaining areas and we hope the final agreement will be signed soon," he said.
Fatou Bensouda, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on Wednesday warned that she might broaden investigations into crimes in Congo and called for all those responsible to be prosecuted.
U.N. peacekeepers have confirmed they are investigating reports of mass graves in areas vacated by rebels.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Congo army makes inroads against weakened rebels

Good People of the World,
This is refreshing God send news. Such UN Representatives of the likes of Martin Kobler, should be given thumbs up. I watched him closely, and his reporting has been very positive with intention of genuinely helping Congo people. He has played fair and gave the correct information as is on the ground and for which I believed helped a great deal to finalize the insurgencies of M23. 
It is clear now that M23 was engineered by Kagame and Museveni as the M23 are seen running back to their homes. 
Whatever else that will come in the name of M28 as is speculated, shall face worse consequences. I am convinced that the whole world will call for their extinction, because, the world is sick and tired from being sick and tired with trouble makers.   It is said that, all top leaders have run to Rwanda and Uganda and a new formation called M18 has been founded.
Congratulation to all the UN Rep. and the United Army and Peace to Congo people and the world. I wish to take this opportunity also to thank UN Secretary Ban-Ki-moon for all the efforts he undertook to make this happen, and we shall not hesitate to pressure for Human Rights and Unity of purpose where all have an opportunity to live dignified, respectful and honorable life.
May God continue to grant us the Love and Peace in harmony the world so badly need moving forward........
Cheers everybody !!!!!

Judy Miriga
Diaspora Spokesperson
Executive Director
Confederation Council Foundation for Africa Inc.,

Congo army makes inroads against weakened rebels

Associated Press

On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 1:04 PM, Zitto <> wrote:
By Katrina Manson in Nairobi

The Democratic Republic of Congo has all but defeated a 20-month
rebellion that threatened Kinshasa’s tentative hold on its
mineral-rich eastern province and terrorised civilians, according to
the United Nations’ special envoy to the country.

Following a four-day military onslaught, Congo’s usually beleaguered
military pushed back the M23 rebels from their strongholds into the
hills beside neighbouring Rwanda. “It is practically the military end
of the M23,”
Martin Kobler,
the UN’s special envoy in the Congo, told
the UN Security Council.

But the emergence of a new and little known rebel movement within the
region underlines that while Congo’s army may have won the battle
against the M23 rebel group, a broader solution that brings lasting
peace to the region is still elusive.

Several rebel and criminal groups prowl eastern Congo for taxes and
resources ranging from charcoal to gold. Officials said 10,000
Congolese refugees have fled into Uganda to escape a new rebel faction
named by Uganda as M18, about which little is known.
A Ugandan
official described M18 as a “breakaway group”.

Congolese officials said they would defeat any new rebel groups. “It
will be the same thing as M23 . . .  But we will defeat them,” one
official said.

Congo believes that Rwanda, assisted by Uganda, is behind the M23
rebellion, which takes its name from a 2009 peace deal with the M23’s
forerunners, the CNDP, which disintegrated.

The CNDP was backed by Rwanda, which has invaded Congo several times
since the late-1990s. The UN and some western countries have also
claimed Rwanda provided military, strategic and moral support to M23.

Rwanda and Uganda have repeatedly denied such accusations.

Rwanda says it has no expansionist intentions in eastern Congo, where
it has sizeable economic interests, but has previously expressed
sympathy with the M23’s cause. It claims another Congolese rebel
group, the FDLR, is allied to those who perpetrated the 1994 genocide
and continues to threaten Rwanda.

The latest military offensive counts on the assistance of a new UN
intervention brigade supported by soldiers of several African
countries. UN officials said that 100 rebels have surrendered to a
single military base since Congo’s army launched its attack on Friday.
A Tanzanian peacekeeper was killed.

Ida Sawyer, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, who visited
the area on Tuesday, said that Congo’s army appeared ready to take the
last rebel enclaves. “The M23 lost a huge amount of territory this
past week; there have been lots of defections; the top leadership may
already have fled into Uganda or Rwanda. It seems the M23 wasn’t
getting as much support from Rwanda as before.”

A UN official said Congo’s army has not yet taken back the final rebel
stronghold, Bunagana, a town on the border with Uganda. The remaining
rebels appear to have disappeared into the countryside, abandoning
their posts in several towns including Rutshuru, where they had
occupied a military base for months.

The onslaught appears to sound the death-knell for drawn-out peace
talks between Congo and M23 held in Kampala as part of a regional
mediation effort headed by Uganda. International envoys from the US,
the UN and the African Union have repeatedly backed months of talks
that have so far come to nothing.

Washington has warned however about relying on a military solution
alone. Russ Feingold, US special envoy to the region, said there was
“enormous risks in simply moving forward believing that a military
solution is a full answer”, adding: “It risks bringing in other forces
in this matter that could lead to a cross-national war.”

Negotiations between the rebels and Congo have snagged over the fate
of fewer than 80 of its top commanders, according to a Congolese
official. Several were former CNDP commanders and some are under UN
and US sanctions.

Sent from my iPhone


Congo army makes inroads against weakened rebels

Associated Press

Congolese army soldiers are cheered by residents as they march through Rugare after recapturing it from M23 rebels over the weekend, towards Rumangabo, around 30km (19 miles) from the provincial capital Goma, in eastern Congo Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The Congolese army, who just one year ago abandoned their posts and fled in the face of an advancing rebel army, succeeded on Monday in taking back a fifth rebel-held town, the city of Rumangabo, in what appears to be a turning point in the conflict. (AP Photo/Joseph Kay)
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RUMANGABO, Congo (AP) — RUMANGABO, Congo (AP) — The Congolese army colonel marched triumphantly into town, welcomed by cheering crowds waving palm leaves after his soldiers retook this base in their latest offensive to quash the M23 rebels.
"Congo for the Congolese!" Col. Mamadou Ndala proclaimed in Swahili to applause and adulation, as women threw flowers and shouted out the names of army commanders.
The recapturing of Rumangabo from the M23 rebels, who are allegedly backed by neighboring Rwanda, is the army's sixth such victory since Saturday. It's a marked turnaround from a year ago when neither the army nor the U.N. peacekeepers kept the same rebels from seizing Goma, a city of 1 million people.
With more help than ever from U.N. forces, Congo's military is now taking advantage of an apparent weakening within the M23 movement that got its start in April 2012. The stepped-up offensive also comes as neighboring Rwanda faces growing pressure over the rebels. The Rwandan government denies it supports the rebels, despite evidence laid out by a U.N. group of experts.
One U.N. diplomat on Monday said the rebels have abandoned nearly all their positions except for a small triangle near the Rwandan border.
John Ging, the director of U.N. humanitarian operations who just returned from Congo, told a news conference at U.N. headquarters in New York Tuesday that the country stands "at a crossroads of new opportunity" where there are hopes for a better future.
He cautioned, however, that Congo has been at crossroads in the past and "tragically, until now, each time it has gotten worse."
"People are saying to us they hope that this time it will actually get better," Ging said. "They see some signs, and where the (U.N.) mission is present, they do point to positive impact."
But he stressed that everyone realizes the instability in Congo, the proliferation of armed groups which will take considerable time to disarm, and the difficult geography of the country.
"If these military victories are followed up with serious regional pressure on Rwanda and on M23 to forge some kind of sustainable peace, then this could be a turning point," said Michael Deibert, author of "The Democratic Republic of Congo: Between Hope and Despair."
Deibert added that Congo's army is often accused of human rights abuses and of a lack of accountability and that these need to be addressed to prevent a reversal of fortune.
The M23 rebels say they want to pursue peace talks, though they have repeated failed and stalled over such issues as amnesty. M23 spokesman Amani Kabasha accused the Congolese government of "provoking fighting with the intention of blaming civilian deaths on M23 and justifying once more the U.N. intervention brigade against our soldiers."
Several Tanzanian peacekeepers have been killed since August. This week the U.N. troops have been in armored personnel carriers and jeeps with mounted machine guns several kilometers (miles) behind the army forces.
Eastern Congo has been wracked by conflict since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, after which Hutu extremists crossed over into Congo. M23 is only the latest rebel group to menace the mineral-rich region.
The insurgency was born out of an earlier rebel movement that had signed a 2009 peace deal with the government. The fighters said the Congolese government hadn't held up its end of the deal that called for the rebels to be integrated into the national army, among other things.
With the purported help of Rwanda, M23 quickly grew in strength and briefly held Goma in November 2012 before bowing to international pressure and retreating. In March, M23 leader Bosco Ntaganda turned himself in to face charges at the International Criminal Court, a move that experts say has seriously weakened the rebels.
"The movement is unable to control its entire territory and suffers from poor morale and scores of desertions," a U.N. group of experts said in a report in late July.
Estimates now put the M23 group at 1,000 fighters. However, residents living in border regions claim that soldiers cross from Rwanda into Congo during M23 fighting which makes it difficult to estimate the group's current size.
Timo Mueller, a Goma-based researcher with the Enough Project, an advocacy group active in eastern Congo, said the M23's retreat from strategically important towns and hills in recent days is surprising.
"That would suggest that they cannot hold ground and confront a very ambitious and more professional Congolese army," he said. "I understand that they're scattering or have scattered. I wouldn't say it's necessarily the military end."
Even if the M23 is defeated, he said, the rebels would need to be disarmed and for them to give up their weapons they would need security guarantees to prevent attacks by the army or angry citizens.
Larson reported from Dakar, Senegal. Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gang imposes reign of terror in Eastleigh

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gang imposes reign of terror in Eastleigh

Residents of Nairobi's Eastleigh engage in their daily activities. Photo/FILE
Residents of Nairobi's Eastleigh engage in their daily activities. Photo/FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary

  • Traders and locals living in fear as ‘Super-power’ attacks with impunity
  • 20 robbed of cash, phones and jewellery

By MIRAJ MOHAMUDMore by this Author
A criminal gang is slowly taking root in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, causing tension and anxiety among residents.
The knife-wielding gang, known as Superpower, has been attacking businesses and individuals with impunity— mostly at dawn and dusk.
In the latest incident, more than 20 people were at the weekend held hostage before being robbed of their phones, jewellery and cash.
“We were heading to the mosque when we met 10 Somali youths. They rounded us up and ordered us to place our phones, cash and other valuables in a small bag,” said one of the victims, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
Those who hesitated were attacked, he added.
Ironically, more than 50 members of the gang were arrested in a police swoop in July and charged in court but most of them walked to freedom after paying bail. A few who could not raise the Sh1 million bail were locked up and are awaiting trial.
Eastleigh North County Representative Osman Adow on Sunday said the gang was initially used by some politicians and businessmen to protect their interests.
“Superpower was formed by Somalis who were deported from Europe and America and came to the country to live with relatives,” he said. “With their cost of living catered for by money from their parents abroad, they do not work and most of their time is spent between watching movies, eating and going to the mosque.”
However the youths resorted to crime after taps of free money ran dry.
“By the end of 2011, the tycoons withdrew their support for fear of being accused of funding terror groups,” said Mr Adow.
Not pleased with the withdrawal of support, the gang has embarked on a revenge mission against some businesses owned by Somalis.
The group is composed of youths below 25 years who sport a particular hairstyle and use metal pipes, knives, pistols, grenades and machetes in their attacks.
Starehe police chief Samuel Anampiu said they had launched a man-hunt for the gangsters.
“We are trying to work with businessmen from the area in a bid to get information on these criminals’ hideouts,” said Mr Anampiu.
The Prevention of Organised Crimes Act 2010 outlaws such criminal gangs. The government has gazetted 33 banned groups after the passing of the law.
But while focus has mostly been on bigger outfits such as Mungiki and Taliban, numerous previously unknown groups, many purporting to be vigilantes, are steadily extending their criminal activities in various city neighbourhoods.

Senators drafting law seeking to give residents more say on county matters

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Senators drafting law seeking to give residents more say on county matters

Committee chairman Amos Wako said the Bill was constitutional and boards were meant to improve service delivery in counties. Photo/FILE
Committee chairman Amos Wako said the Bill was constitutional and boards were meant to improve service delivery in counties. Photo/FILE Nation Media Group

In Summary

  • Move comes after lawmakers noted that little had been done to include public in country’s governance
  • Involvement could be through forums at local levels

By DENNIS ODUNGAMore by this Author
A Bill that seeks to enhance participation by residents in county matters is on the way.
This comes after senators said little had been done to incorporate the public in the country’s governance.
The Senate’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights said the Constitution emphasises people’s participation in governance and that such a Bill would provide appropriate checks and balances and hold leaders accountable as they execute their mandate.
The chairman of the committee, Mr Amos Wako, who is also Busia Senator, said they would table a Bill before the House that seeks to implement section 91 of The County Governments Act, 2012 that addresses devolution issues.
The section stipulates that the county government should facilitate the establishment of structures for citizen participation.
The Act says this should be through involvement of elected leaders in decision-making or establishment of citizens’ forums at the county level.
Mr Wako said the country needs a structured system and appropriate laws that would give room to other Kenyans, as opposed to only leaders, to be actively involved in the development agenda in their counties.
Nandi Senator Stephen Sang’, the vice-chairman of the committee, said the oversight units would enhance transparency and accountability in counties, besides being actively involved in determining projects that deserve priority.
Senator Fatuma Dullo, while acknowledging the need to involve other Kenyans in matters affecting their counties, said leaving all the work to the elected leaders was dangerous.
“In some counties, rarely does a governor consult with a senator, particularly if they are from different parties. Some county representatives can’t question what the governor says,” she said.
The secretary of the Council of Governors, Mr Ken Lusaka, however, criticised the Senate for spending valuable time creating oversight units, he said were already provided for in the Constitution.
He said governors were aware of the need for citizen participation and were involving ordinary Kenyans in decision-making.
“We don’t need a Bill to prompt us to do what we are already doing willingly” Mr Lusaka, who is also the governor for Bungoma said.

Mr Muthama tells President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto, Carry your own cross, Uhuru Kenyatta told

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Carry your own cross, Uhuru Kenyatta told

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama. Photo/FILE
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama. Photo/FILE

In Summary

  • Mr Muthama said the country needed to remain in the Rome Statute, arguing, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prevented a repeat of violence during elections in March because leaders and Kenyans feared being pursued by the court.

By Nation CorrespondentMore by this Author
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama has said the country should not be dragged into the cases facing the President and his deputy, saying, the two should pursue the cases as individuals.
Mr Muthama said the country needed to remain in the Rome Statute, arguing, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prevented a repeat of violence during elections in March because leaders and Kenyans feared being pursued by the court.
“Let President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto pursue their cases at the Hague, but the country should not be dragged into the matter with calls to pull out of the Rome Statute,” he said.
On arguments that the country had turned a new leaf and people had chosen to be peaceful, Mr Muthama said it was only because of the ICC threat that politicians feared to instigate violence in March.
The Machakos Senator said the African leaders who are pushing, through the African Union (AU), for withdrawal from the Rome Statute were insincere. Most were behind human rights abuses in their own countries, and the ICC was created to protect people against abusive leaders, he added.
Mr Muthama was speaking during a church fund-raiser at the African Brotherhood Church in Nairobi.
President Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former radio broadcaster Joshua Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity during the 2008 post-election violence.
Mr Ruto’s and Mr Sang’s case is ongoing in The Hague.
Mr Muthama also criticised Police Inspector-General David Kimaiyo for investigating journalists over their coverage of the Westgate shopping mall terrorist attack.



Evans Odegu


These goons should carry their own crosses, just like they promised during their campaigns and before the elections. As a few lawmakers wanted to stop them from vying for the offices, they cried fault and promised to handle the matters as private. NOw Uhuru is lobbying left and right to get his way through.
Throw this goons in jail if found guilty for what i care!
For one Uhuru has lived off the looting his father did and support from Moi and Kibaki but never really do anything in particular to even earn to be the president of this country. Nobody even know what university he exactly went to or even the degree attained. His world is filled with vague cloudy information and yet he manages to manouver his way through all the obstacles.
This guy isn?t worth being my president! I did vote for him but i regret it just like most people, now that i know exactly that he hides behind the office just like Kibaki, Moi and Mr. Muigai (his dad) did.
Shame on you Mr.!

A common sense statement! Well done Muthama!


Jathieth2 Nabs_101

Alfotula Nabs_101

Nabs_101 Alfotula



I totally and extremely agree with the senator.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, First Lady Margaret and the Bishop of Meru Diocese Salesius Mugambi, cut a cake at the Holy Family Basilica after a Thanksgiving Mass for the disciplined forces on Sunday. [Photo: Evans Habil/Standard]
By Geoffrey Mosoku
Nairobi, Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta Sunday came out strongly to defend the country’s security forces in the wake of reports that questioned their handling of the Westgate Mall siege.
President Uhuru did not refer to last month’s Westgate operation while addressing worshippers during prayers for uniformed disciplined forces, but generally acknowledged that no one is perfect and that the important thing is to learn from the mistakes.
He urged Kenyans, and especially the media, to be sensitive in their criticism of the security forces.
“No man is perfect or woman for that matter, but what is most important is what we do when we make mistakes. There are those who will love to live and wallow in their mistakes and there are those who learn from their mistakes and change,” said the Head of State.
The President said he would defend security forces when and if necessary since their service to the country is appreciated.
Daily selflessness
“We are proud of the sacrifice by our disciplined forces and we appreciate your daily selflessness,” the Commander-in-Chief told the country’s security forces during this year’s disciplined forces joint mass at the Holy Family Basilica.
He reiterated his weekend call to journalists to be responsible in their reporting, saying the media, too, had a role to play in ensuring a safe environment for all Kenyans.
“Our media should be responsible in their reporting. They and all of us have a responsibility for our security,” he said. The duty to ensure national security is for all and shouldn’t be left to security forces alone,” he added.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, top security chiefs, including Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo were present.
The mass was presided over by Bishop Salesius Mugambi, of Meru Diocese, who is chaplain in charge of the uniformed disciplined forces.
Security agencies, and the Kenya Defence Forces in particular, have been on the spot following the Westgate terrorist attack that killed over 67 people on September 21.
Parliament is investigating the handling of the Westgate crisis and top security chiefs have appeared before the MPs’ team.
Sunday, President Uhuru said the government would increase its budgetary allocation to the security sector, provide necessary material support and look into the welfare of the men and women in uniform.
“We will support and provide you with the necessary tools you require to perform your duty. We will do all it takes to improve the welfare of the men and women in uniform and continually increase budget available in order to ensure you are able to do what you need to do.”
The President also implored Kenyans to co-operate with the security agencies in combating crime and averting threats to security.
Men in uniform
“Mine is to call on all Kenyans and remind them that security is not just an obligation of the men in uniform, but an obligation of every single citizen. It’s only when the citizenry take up their duty of reporting crime, happenings and incidents that happen in their neighbourhood that we can ensure a nation free of crime and terrorism. These individuals (criminals) live amongst you. They are your neighbours, brother, sisters, fathers or mothers.”
Ruto took the opportunity to encourage President Kenyatta in the face of the magnitude of challenges facing his leadership, saying it is through faith that he can overcome.
“Mr President, God knows why at a time delicate such as this, he has made you the leader. God will not allow any temptation to come your way that you cannot bear and I am confident that we will overcome our challenges,” Ruto said.
Kimaiyo said security agencies must deliver their services faithfully and must remain united.
“We will continue being satisfied with our wages, as the Bible says that we must be content with our wages, but also urge you, Mr President, to continue looking into our welfare,” Kimaiyo added.