Friday, November 30, 2012

DR Congo : Confusion in Goma

Unsolicited and posted on my Facebook timeline I assume by Mutaani who appear to operate a Congolese radio station. It was in French and I have translated with Google translate.   

Le retrait du M23 de Goma s’organise, des policiers arrivent en ville

( The withdrawal of M23 Goma is organized police coming to town )

Nearly 300 police officers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived Friday morning in the city of Goma to secure the city in preparation for a withdrawal, but still very visible supposed to be imminent, the rebel M23.The mission of the police is "to secure the city of Goma after the withdrawal of rebel M23," told AFP a spokesman for the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), Manodje Mounoubai. A little more than 270 police officers have already arrived. In total, over 450 to be deployed.

I guessed this was what Mutaani were trying to point out to me my reaction on face book was.

Police, left by boat on Lake Kivu, Bukavu, a hundred miles to the south, arrived at the port of Goma, bordering Rwanda. The regular army of the DRC, FARDC, is also preparing his return from Saturday."Tomorrow (Saturday), we will deploy our units. A battalion is in town and will be a company at the airport ", currently managed by MONUSCO, said General François Olenga, head of the army.

You can guarantee M23 will resist attempts by FARDC to re-enter Goma in force. As far as I understood the agreement there were to be about 100 M23 and a similar number of FARDC stationed in Goma at the airport. I am starting to have concerns about the sanity of General Francois Olenga. When your army has had the shit kicked out of it, it would seem to me to be more sensible to take small steps rather than wave a big stick. Particularly given Alex's contention that M23 appear to be stealing elements of that big stick from the MONUSCO controlled airport.  
At the airport in Goma are also expected at a date yet unspecified a hundred Tanzanian soldiers, sent as part of a mediation of the Great Lakes tasked with finding a solution to the crisis in eastern DRC for the past eight months.

The rebels, who are fighting the rebels in the DRC army in North Kivu since April, which would have about 1,500 men, took Goma on November 20. This week, under mediation of the Great Lakes, they agreed to withdraw from the city, and other positions in the wake around this Friday. Withdrawal, they nevertheless warned Thursday could continue until Saturday.
On the ground, no major troop movement of M23 was also still observed Friday morning.In the town of Sake, located thirty miles west of Goma and where, according to the military direction of M23, most of the decline should be initiated, journalists constataient always the presence of rebels. These include always kept a toll.

OK not a great translation but M23 are leaving Sake it would appear The New York Times published this photo overnight.

Accusation of looting

Under the mediation of neighboring countries, President Kabila pledged to investigate claims of M23 in exchange for military withdrawal. Kinshasa and the UN accused Rwanda and Uganda - that belie-support mutiny.
In New York, the United Nations announced that helicopter mission in the DRC would organize aerial surveillance of their withdrawal.
The Chiefs of Staff of the Great Lakes should also in theory come to Goma to see the decline. Their coming this Friday, as originally planned, however, was more certain.
Meanwhile, accusations of looting multiply against the M23 in Goma.
Thursday, merchants closed their shops, following rumors of looting in some neighborhoods of the city. Kinshasa had previously accused the rebels have raided a morgue official buildings and have served in mineral stocks stored in the regional capital.
"They pick up everything," dropped a Western military source, speaking of the M23.
No human toll of the recent offensive M23 was not yet available. But earlier in the week, the Red Cross said he picked up a body of sixty "civil and military" in the streets in the days following the capture of Goma. The UN has reported her rape in a place where the DRC army had collapsed.

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