The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 03 September 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on September 3, 2013

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Democratic Republic of Congo-Rwanda Border Clashes

This week’s snapshot examines the conflict between the Democratic of Congo (DRC) and M23 rebels, as well as Rwanda’s potential role in the struggle.  In recent weeks, the conflict between rebels and government forces has escalated once again, with fighting occurring outside the contested city of Goma on 27AUG. While conflict has long embroiled the former Belgian colony, the conflict has escalated in recent weeks after months of negotiations between rebels and government officials. On 29AUG, a cross-border shelling from M23-held territory near Goma killed a woman in Rwanda while the UN claimed that Rwandan troops have been assisting rebel forces.

 

              

News Summary of events during the week of 26AUG-02SEP

  • On 27AUG, Congolese soldiers and UN helicopters exchanged fire with M23 rebels outside of the eastern city of Goma. (AP)
  • On 29AUG, cross-border shelling from the DRC killed a Rwandan woman, which the UN claimed originated from M23-held territory. (AFP)
  • Also on 29AUG, a top UN official claimed that Rwandan troops have been helping the M23 rebels in the DRC conflict. (AFP)
  • On 30AUG, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo hinted via social media that Rwandan troops could enter DR Congo while M23 fighters announced a retreat from the area around Goma. (AP)
  • Also on 30AUG, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon publically blamed the shelling that occurred on 29AUG on M23 rebels. (AFP)
  • On 31AUG, the Congolese army seized an M23 rebel stronghold near Goma. (DPA)
  • On 02SEP, Uganda has called an emergency summit of regional countries to discuss the deteriorating security situation in eastern DRC. (Xinhua)
  • On 02SEP, UN special envoy Mary Robinson said the M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo “must disarm as the UN Security Council demanded.” (AFP)


Sample of Twitter handles regarding the conflict

  • @gemattioli – Advocacy Director, International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch
  • @texasinafrica – An assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College, specializing in African politics and conflicts and author of texasinafrica.blogspot.com
  • @erocomfort – Africa Program Director at the International Crisis Group
  • @muellertimo – Researcher on the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the Enough Project

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the conflic

Name Position Organization Quote Article Date
Timo Mueller Field Researcher Enough Project “Over the course of the last seven months, the warring parties have employed militaristic bluster, as well as traded fierce accusations of foul play as a means of furthering narrow political agendas.” The Recent Fighting in Eastern Congo and Its Implications for Peace (Enough Project) 7 August 2013
Stephanie Wolters Independent Political Analyst and Congo Expert Okapi Consulting “Rwanda is going to use it as an excuse to be as aggressive as it can be. It’s very possible that in the coming days we’ll see this turning into a war between two countries. I think Rwanda think they have nothing left to lose and they might go in. It may be a full-scale invasion unless something defuses it, but I don’t know what that would be.” Rwanda accuses Congo of rocket attacks over border (Guardian) 30 August 2013
Dr. Phil Clark Lecturer School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) “As is often the case in violent conflicts, the truth is extremely murky. There is an enormous amount of propaganda in this situation. My own personal view is that it would be very unlikely for the M23 rebels to be firing into Rwanda, given the links between M23 and Rwanda in the past.” INTERVIEW: Phil Clark: “UN sees Rwanda as part of Congo’s problem” (Deutsche Welle) 30 August 2013
Witney Schneidman Nonresident Fellow Brookings Institution “There are critical security issues that must be dealt with, such as ensuring that the new UN Intervention Brigade contributes to the solution rather than exacerbates it. But the potential benefits to all parties of an economically prosperous eastern Congo would provide a major incentive for constructive negotiations, and commercial and economic issues can and should be addressed concurrently.” OPINION: Bringing Peace to the Congo – a Blueprint for Special Envoy Feingold (All Africa) 31 August 2013
Dr. John Campbell Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies Council on Foreign Relations “It is an open secret that senior political and military figures from Rwanda and Uganda sponsor irregular militias in eastern Congo to access its mineral resources for personal enrichment. What will it take for the United States and others to address the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo? 28 February 2013


Sample of open source research conducted by TRG Analysts related to the conflict

 

1. UN chief condemns killing of peacekeeper in eastern DR Congo

Media: Xinhua (China)
Byline: N/A
Date: 29 August 2013

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday condemned the killing of a Tanzanian peacekeeper and the wounding of ten others during renewed clashes in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) earlier on the same day.

“The Secretary-General deplores in the strongest terms the killing and wounding of UN peacekeepers,” said a statement issued on Wednesday night by Ban’s spokesperson.

The attack occurred as the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) supported action by the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) to protect civilian-populated areas of Goma, the statement said.

To continue reading, please visit: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2013-08/29/c_132673539.htm

END

 

2. S.African snipers hit M23 targets in DR Congo

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 29 August 2013

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng, Aug 29, 2013 (AFP) – UN-deployed South African snipers have killed six M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a military union official said Thursday.

“We hit targets on at least six occasions with snipers,” said South African Defence Union national secretary Pikkie Greeff. “We got six kills, to put it coarsely.”

“In one case the target was 2.2 kilometres (1.4 miles) away,” he added. “On Saturday a South African sniper took out a machine gun post.”

Defence Force spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga confirmed South Africa forces had engaged rebels, but could not elaborate on the sniper reports.

South African soldiers are part of a UN intervention brigade, which has an unprecedented mandate to battle the armed movements long active in eastern Congo.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.nation.co.ke/news/africa/South+African+snipers+hit+M23+targets+in+DR+Congo/-/1066/1972778/-/14ucx5mz/-/index.html

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3. Shelling into Rwanda came from Congo rebel areas, U.N. says

 

Media: Reuters
Byline: N/A
Date: 29 August 2013

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. peacekeepers in eastern Congo have witnessed shelling into Rwandan territory from positions occupied by M23 rebels over the past week and has not observed any firing into Rwanda by the Congolese army, a U.N. spokesman said on Thursday.

“The (U.N.) Mission reports that it can confirm firing incidents into Rwandan territory originated from M23 positions between 22 and 29 August,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said. “The Mission further reports that it has not witnessed any (Congolese army) firing into Rwanda territory during this period.”

Rwanda accused neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday of persistently shelling Rwandan territory and said such “provocation” could no longer be tolerated, after a flare-up of fighting in Congo’s war-torn east.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/29/us-congo-democratic-rwanda-un-idUSBRE97S0XU20130829

END

 

4. Rwandan official hints troops could enter Congo

Media: Associated Press
Byline: N/A
Date: 30 August 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Rwanda’s foreign minister has indicated in social media that Rwandan troops could enter Congo.

Louise Mushikiwabo said on Twitter late Thursday that Rwandan troops are not currently in Congo, and added the word “yet” in parentheses.

She also wrote: “When they are, you will know” in a Twitter message directed to the TV news outlet Al Jazeera.

Fighting from the war in eastern Congo that pits U.N. and Congolese forces against M23 rebels spilled over into Rwanda Thursday when multiple shells landed inside the country. In New York, the U.N. said the firing originated from positions held by M23.

To continue reading, please visit: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/rwandan-official-hints-troops-could-enter-congo

END

 

5. Congo rebels say ceasing combat, to quit front line: report

 

Media: Reuters

Byline: N/A

Date: 30 August 2013

 

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s M23 rebels will stop fighting and withdraw from front lines immediately to allow an investigation into shelling that hit neighboring Rwanda, their leader said on Friday.

Rwanda accused Congo on Thursday of persistent shelling into its territory and said such “provocation” could no longer be tolerated as tension mounted in Congo’s east where its forces, backed by U.N. peacekeepers, have been battling the rebels.

U.N. peacekeepers in Congo, however, said they had witnessed shelling into Rwanda by the M23 rebels.

“We have just asked our forces to withdraw from the Kanyaruchinya front line and cease combat so as to allow for an investigation into who was shelling Rwanda,” M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa told French RFI radio.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/30/congo-democratic-rebels-idUSL6N0GV12N20130830

END

 

6. DR Congo army readies for assault on rebel stronghold

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 02 September 2013

KINSHASA, Kinshasa City, Sept 02, 2013 (AFP) – Congolese troops readied Monday to seize a stronghold of M23 fighters in the latest push forward against the rebels in the resource-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, senior military sources said Monday.

Troops, backed by a special United Nations force, launched a fresh assault against the M23 army mutineers late last month, with the rebels pulling back on Friday from positions around the mining hub city of Goma.

The upsurge in fighting has raised concerns, with UN special envoy Mary Robinson visiting the region amid the escalation in violence.

Now DR Congo forces are aiming to take back the rebel base at Kibumba, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Goma, with government troops just some two kilometres from the insurgent base.

While still calm, the attack on Kibumba is expected “in the very near future,” the senior Congolese army officer said.

To continue reading, please visit: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2013/09/dr-congo-army-readies-for-assault-on-rebel-stronghold/

END

 

7. Uganda calls emergency summit on DRC crisis

Media: Xinhua (China)
Byline: N/A
Date: 02 September 2013

KAMPALA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — Uganda has called an emergency summit of regional countries to discuss the deteriorating security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where UN peacekeepers have been killed in fighting.

A statement issued by the state-owned Uganda Media Center late on Sunday said the meeting, which will convene on Thursday, will bring together 11 member countries of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a regional body peace and security.

“Following the deteriorating situation in the eastern DRC, particularly in the recent days resulting in the death and injury of peacekeepers from the Force Intervention Brigade, Uganda as chair of the ICGLR, felt it was very urgent to convene an Extra- Ordinary Summit on September 5, 2013. The UN is also expected to be represented in the summit,” the statement said.

To continue reading, please visit: news.xinhuanet.com/english/africa/2013-09/02/c_132685290.htm

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