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BREAKING: Democratic Republic of Congo: Trouble in GomaTim King and Jennifer Fierberg Salem-News.com
M23 rebels threatening city of Goma; capital of North Kivu province in the DRC.
(GOMA/SACRAMENTO/WASHINGTON) - "Things are very tough nowadays here on ground".
In the span of a single five minute Facebook chat, a contact in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) told me that residents were concerned about reports of rebels massing on the outskirts of town, then he relayed that explosions were being heard.
The growing threat against this region is a continuation of the worst kind of terror. Goma's recent history has been dominated by the active Nyiragongo Volcano, (Goma lies only 13 to 18 km due south of the crater) and the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, which in turn fueled the First and Second Congo Wars.
"Yesterday we had messages from the other side of war line, rebels leaders threatening to make a great assault on Goma... now it is morning I can see people going to churches, groups of people on main roads trying to know what is going on in the new 5 hours."
Of course Goma and the looming M23 threat to this city has made headlines in recent hours. It appears as if the city is on the brink of a potential nightmare.
"There are confusing messages but what is true is that the war is going on in surrounding villages of Goma. The worse is that some refugees are growing weary that rebels are comming to attack Goma so they wonder where they will flee...in the lake or in Rwand. These are are among the last possibilities".
The United Nations mission in the DRC is winning no favors with the population on the ground that has become increasingly fearful for good reason.
"The UN Misssion in the DRCongo - I do not trust in this mission. The population has lost his confidence in the UN troops they do not believe in the UN Mission in the DRCongo. It seems there is a parallel commandment in this UN Mission. It is said that Rwanda has its services members working in with the support of the USA and the UK. So it become a very heavy machine to move ahead".
We're told that locally, people are complaining how Rwanda gained the seat in the UN council while beeing accused by the same UN panel for violating embargo on weapons towards rebels. Many people are wondering about that one.
"So the situation is a bit much complicated. In schools and in churches people are only speaking about war saying they know where it comes from, but we should not lose hope".
But then suddenly the conversation changed, and the rumor of rebels outside of town began to manifest.
"There is a clash near the Military Jail of North Kivu province. It is said that ten Rwandan soldiers were arrested to the front line so there are Rwandan soldiers who have come to request their realesing. So it is a big event here outside. There are now heavy bombs which heard at about 10 miles from Goma in the Virunga National Park. We do not know who are shooting whom in these sides... the climate has changed now from the time I am writing to you this message".
Situation Deteriorating in Goma-DRC
Tonight on Aljazeera English a reporter asked Laura Seay, Political analyst and associate professor of political science about the situation in the Congo:
Q: Any doubt of Rwanda’s involvement?
A: Laura Seay: Not to anyone with objective sense of reality”
This statement by Laura Seay could not sum up this situation better. Rwanda has been conclusively supporting rebels in the DRC in order to destabilize the region; a fact that the Government of Rwanda vehemently denies. Yes the proof is overwhelming. Two separate Group of Experts reports have been published to support these claims with the second report providing a stronger level of proof required for supporting the facts they detailed. Despite these evidences the Government of Rwanda takes to Twitter on a daily basis to refute the claims.
Ambrose Nzeyimana, Human right activist and blogger, stated in a recent blog post about the increased fighting in the Kivu’s: “According to the Congolese army, the Rwandan attack was aimed at capturing the refugee camp of Kanyarucinya situated in a 20 km distance from Goma and which already shelters more than 60,000 displaced people. For those who are familiar with RPF guerrilla war tactics, refugees have always been used as human shields in its ways of penetrating enemy’s territory.”
Human Rights Watch said it has "credible reports" that Rwandan troops have crossed into DR Congo since Thursday.
The Congolese army spokesperson explains: “We were attacked from behind. On the side bordering Rwanda, where no other enemy than of Rwandan Defence Forces could’ve attacked us. They are all wearing Rwandan army uniforms. You cannot know who is who: M23 or RDF.”
The Security Council met in an emergency session on Saturday, demanded by France after M23 took another town close to Goma, forcing a high alert in the city of nearly one million people. A council statement demanded an end to the M23 advance and "that any and all outside support and supply of equipment to the M23, cease immediately." They fell short of stating that Rwanda was the “outside supporter” but as Ms. Seay stated…” anyone with objective sense of reality” knows that the UNSC is talking about Rwanda.
The UNSC vowed new sanctions against M23 leaders and those who help it breach UN sanctions and an arms embargo.
New details are emerging that the rebels now have night-vision equipment which enabled them to launch Saturday's offensive on Kibumba, and have also recently acquired 120 mm mortars. This equipment is not gathered or trained on so quickly. Only two local armies have access to these types of weapons…Uganda and Rwanda.
Jennifer Fierberg is a social worker in the US working on peace and justice issues in Africa with an emphasis on the crisis in Rwanda and throughout the central region of Africa. Her articles have been published on many humanitarian sites that are also focused on changing the world through social, political and personal action.
Jennifer has extensive background working with victims of trauma and domestic violence, justice matters as well as individual and family therapy. Passionate and focused on bringing the many humanitarian issues that plague the African Continent to the awareness of the developed world in order to incite change. She is a correspondent, Assistant Editor, and Volunteer Coordinator for NGO News Africa through the volunteer project of the UN. Jennifer was also the media co-coordinator and senior funding executive for The Africa Global Village. You can write to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jennifer comes to www.Salem-News.com with a great deal of experience and passion for working to stop human right violation in Africa.
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: email@example.com. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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