Congo arrests 32 suspected rebels for attacking airport

democratic republic of congo mapCongolese police on Thursday said they have arrested 32 people on charges of attacking the international airport in Goma, capital of north-eastern North Kivu province.

Fighters belonging to a new rebel group headed by a former regional politician, Celestin Malonga, were pushed back on Monday by the army and members of the presidential guard who were based at the airport.

However, one rebel and four members of the presidential guard were killed.

Meanwhile, the reasons for the attack were not clear but officials and analysts said the rebels may have wanted to prevent guests from arriving for a regional economic forum or that they may simply have wanted to loot goods at the airport.

Malonga, who was arrested near the Rwandan border, told newsmen that he was fighting the government of President Joseph Kabila, because it had lent a deaf ear to his demands.

He did not give details on what the demands were.

Malonga’s Union of Congolese Patriots for Peace (UCPC), said it has about 100 members, is just one among dozens of armed groups operating in eastern Congo.

The region had been ravaged by violence since the 1996 to 2003 Congo wars.

Report says many of the armed groups do not focus on ideological causes, but seek control over the region’s rich natural resources.

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