Key Eastern Congo City Falls to Rebels: A View from the Ground

From Enough blogs Tue Nov 20 2012, 18:53:12

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo -- The city awoke to artillery and mortar fire today as rebels with the March 23 Movement, or M23, pushed into the outskirts of town, taking control of North Kivu province's main airport, a strategic point, around 11:30 this morning. Main streets in town were deserted, and local radio stations stopped broadcasting and only played music. Residents who had not fled as the rebels approached mostly sought refuge inside their homes. Along some side streets, women offered drinking water to the rows of government troops who trudged through on patrol, and young men helped soldiers carry their heavy weapons. Elsewhere, however, reports emerged of soldiers taking advantage of the chaos, looting shops and robbing people along the road.

In advance of today's attack, a large reinforcement of government soldiers, the FARDC, had come to Goma from Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province. These reinforcements engaged with the M23 elements that had infiltrated the city ahead of the full rebel advance. Nevertheless, the bolstered FARDC ranks buckled under the onslaught from the M23 fighters, who were reportedly supported by an estimated 3,000 Rwandan soldiers who crossed into the border village of Kibumba from the Bigogwe military camp in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Attack helicopters commanded by U.N. peacekeepers engaged rebel targets on Saturday but failed to deter the rebel's advance.

An FARDC captain on the frontlines admitted in a phone call with Enough on Thursday that, despite some successful operations against the M23 on that day, morale was low and that their likely defeat would be in part due to "lack of food, ammunition, and troop rotation." Frustrated by what they saw as a lack of support for the army under siege, military families in Goma took to the streets burning tires and throwing stones at MONUSCO patrols. An unknown number of U.N. peacekeepers have ...

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

People and Organizations:


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Algeria:   Bouteflika Wins Fourth Term (news)
Deutsche Welle
19 April 2014

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been re-elected for a fourth term. But the 77-year-old is seriously ill and barely able to communicate. Doubts over whether he is still able to lead his ... [read more]

South Sudan:   Dozens Die in Cattle Raid (news)
Sudan Tribune
18 April 2014

At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured when suspected cattle raiders attacked a village in South Sudan's Warrap state on Thursday, an official said. [read more]

Ghana:   Ghana's Oil Quagmire (news)
Ghanaian Chronicle
19 April 2014

As Ghana strives harder to escape the quagmire of oil curse which is the vile menace of oil and gas producing countries in third world countries across the globe, there are already looming signals ... [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!