February 5, 2013

New DRC Rebel Group Vows To Oust Kabila

The eastern DRC has served as a ground for Rebels
The eastern DRC has served as a ground for Rebels

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s troubles are far from over. Even while he is still trying to deal with the threat posed by M23, a newly formed armed rebel group in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) says it is seeking to overthrow him on grounds of “high treason.”

In a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on January 25, the Union of Revolutionary Forces of Congo (UFRC), based in Bukavu — the capital of South Kivu province — said that it is a “political-military” movement founded in mid-January with the aim of toppling Kabila and brining him to justice “for high treason,” International media outlet AFP reported on Monday.

In the letter, which was released on Sunday, the rebel group claimed that it has the support of civil society members and political figures from South Kivu and “part of North Kivu.”

President Kabila was re-elected in November 2011 in a vote described by international observers as “lacking credibility.”

The DRC is already trying to contain rebels from the March 23 movement (M23) that have been fighting the army since May in neighbouring North Kivu province.

The M23 rebels seized the eastern city of Goma on November 20 after UN peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city, which is home to about one million people. The rebels withdrew from the city on December 1 under a ceasefire accord.

The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.

Since early May 2012, nearly 3 million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.4 million have resettled in Congo, but more than 460,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.

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