Hey all.

Nazanine Moshiri is here to answer your questions.


More proof.

Moshiri has been reporting from Goma, the city captured by M23 rebels earlier this week. The rebels have vowed to expand their territorial control beyond North Kivu province and even to march on the capital, Kinshasa, more than 1,500km away.

She's our East Africa correspondent and based in Nairobi, Kenya.

She has covered some of Al Jazeera English's biggest news stories, including the Tunisian uprising in 2011, conflict in the DRC and the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa.

You can follow her on Twitter as well: @nazaninemoshiri

Ask away!

Edit: I'll be in and out today (November 26) answering questions.

Comments: 732 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

Fjkombo668 karma

Nazanine, Hi. My name is Fabrice Kombo, Leader of the third voice party in the DRC. Now, my question is, our militant claim that Sake was not protected by theFARDC before it fail to the M23 but rather by the Mai Mai ?

NazanineMoshiriAJE600 karma

Just spoke to someone about this and he says it is probably correct. A commander of MaiMai Janvier karahire was present in Sake at the time.

NazanineMoshiriAJE342 karma

There are certainly plenty of MaiMai in the area, we have spoken to several members of the group. I am not sure the rebel group was protecting Sake though. For those that don't know who MaiMai is, here is a link to some stories about the rebels.


MechDigital311 karma

DRC has a population of 70 million, how can a rebel group with maybe 5000 members threaten the stability of the country?

NazanineMoshiriAJE359 karma

Dear MechDigital,

That is an excellent question. The issue isn't this one rebel group, there are around 25 here in Eastern Congo, terrorising the population. When fighting erupts, tens of thousands of people flee. Millions of people have been displaced over the past few decades. There are also so many weapons coming into the country from outside countries, and these outside forces are trying to influence things here.

NazanineMoshiriAJE254 karma

Hello everyone, I am just about to start answering your questions. Please be aware internet is an issue, I am on a bgan, so if I am slow to respond, please be patient with me.

NazanineMoshiriAJE201 karma

Sorry it started raining, so I had to move to shelter.

BroDonBaker191 karma

Im embarrased to say I know little to nothing about what is going on in a country the size of Eastern Europe, but do you have any insight on why the rebels defected from the army? Are they being supported by some other country, or is it an economic or religious conflict? Have you spoken with rebel leaders about their motivations? Thanks!

NazanineMoshiriAJE215 karma

Hi BroDonBaker,

Thanks for your question. Here is a link to more information about M23 http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/11/2012112511326353348.html I met them when they first defected from the Congolese army and formed M23 back in April. Its demand then was more about re-integration into the army with better pay, ranks, and more land. Now it has political aims, it wants Joseph Kabila to step down, it wants new elections in the country.

[deleted]155 karma


NazanineMoshiriAJE244 karma

People have described DR Congo as the rape capital in the world, and I have covered stories here about the use of sexual violence as a political/military tool. I personally have not felt under threat, but women who have to walk to collect water, or wood for the fire, have told me about the fear they feel.

karmaisourfriend83 karma

What is the best way for individuals to help the innocents there? I live in the U.S.

NazanineMoshiriAJE143 karma

Oxfam International, and MSF, as well as the International Red Cross are all doing a great job out here you can contribute money to their appeals.

CanadaPort70 karma

  • Hi, this maybe a bit off-topic, but I´m currently writing a paper on resource politics/management in the D.R. Congo. I´m especially interested in the 2007 “Memorandum of Understanding” between the Congolese government and parastatal Chinese companies and its following agreements/renegotiations and the differences of the Chinese approach to the resource politics of Western countries/companies.
  • My first question is, if the infrastructure projects promised by the Chinese contractors are really happening and if yes, do they really benefit the Congolese population or rather just help advance the exploitation of Congolese minerals and corruption of Congolese government officials.
  • It would really help me, if you could tell, if there is an impact of this contract on improving the lives of the population and/or the overall situation, because it´s hard to gather any information for the recent years.
  • Also if there is an impact, what does the Congolese population think of the Chinese approach to development politics, in exchange for resources, and do they hold it in a higher regard than to what Western companies have been doing in the past? Are the Chinese companies really acting differently in terms of basic human and environmental rights?
  • My second question is, if it is advisable and safe to do a study trip to D.R. Congo? I would really like to visit the southern province Katanga? I´ve heard the situation in Kinshasa alone is not the best for foreigners, especially Europeans, let alone any other parts of the country.
  • Thanks in advance for doing this :D

NazanineMoshiriAJE133 karma

Speaking to people here the Chinese have done very little to help the development of the country. They have taken natural resources like gold and diamonds.

CanadaPort35 karma

  • To be on topic, does the fighting in the Kivu provinces effect mining and foreign buisnesses and what is the general stance of those militias/rebels on foreigner companies?

NazanineMoshiriAJE74 karma

Hi CanadaPort, give me time to look into your question, but as far as I know the actual mining hasn't been effected as it isn't here but mainly in Walikale. But the export of the natural resources may be an issue right now for foreign companies as Goma, the main export route is under the control of the rebels. I actually asked M23 if it had taken over any of the mines, it says it hasn't so far. But its presence has left a security vacuum and other rebel groups may exploit it.

[deleted]60 karma

Hi Ms. Moshiri, thank you for doing this.

If Kabila is brought down, what do you see as the future of the DRC?

NazanineMoshiriAJE84 karma

I personally don't think Joseph Kabila is under threat for now at least.

NazanineMoshiriAJE59 karma

Sorry everyone, I have to go and edit another report. I hope to be back later to answer your great questions.

Shartbait59 karma

Hi Nazanine, is there more to the M23 than just a group of dissatisfied military men?

NazanineMoshiriAJE102 karma

Yes according to the group it is also about protecting tutsi refugees from rebel groups like fdlr. It wants refugees who have been in Rwanda since 1997 to be able to return to their homes and land. I think land is part of the issue here.

thegeneralstrike52 karma

The legacies of, perhaps, Africa's most brutal kelpto-colonial state certainly weighs heavily on the shoulders of the DRC.

Do you see any way out in the near/intern for the manifold violence in the DRC? Is there any conceivable way that civil society organisations (unions, community organisations) will be able to locally engage an end to the conflict(s) while lacking armed wings? How strong are such organisations, and is there a way for them to exist/expand outside of tribal lines?

NazanineMoshiriAJE82 karma

There are some strong civil society organisations, but they are often intimidated by the Government, or rebel groups. I think the international community needs to strengthen these groups, fund them, and educated them, and give them the technology and resources to grow.

NinjaDiscoJesus42 karma

You ever get the feeling it's just same old, same old with the entire continent?

NazanineMoshiriAJE118 karma

Dear NinjaDiscoJesus,

I have been covering Africa for the past two years, and have reported on many conflicts, as well as corruption, exploitation, poverty, and famine. I have also seen many positive signs even here in DR Congo. Civil society groups, local ngos helping rape victims, and very brave people speaking out against what has been happening here. I think there is hope, there has to be, it is up to us as journalists to highlight not just the negatives but the positives too.

InherentlyBad39 karma

I think it is great that you are doing this. Thank you.

Now I must ask, what steps do you take for you and your staff's personal safety?

NazanineMoshiriAJE74 karma

We have a great experienced team, and we use local knowledge to gather intelligence before we proceed into a dangerous conflict area. We have all had hostile environment training, and our desk in Doha as well as the UN is aware of our movements. The most important thing to remember is to always have an exit plan!

RadioOnTheRadio38 karma

There are strong rumors that the M23 rebels are heavily supported by the Rwandan government with both arms and manpower. Have you seen evidence of that?

Furthermore, there are also rumors that the Rwandan interest lies in creating a greater Tutsi-land in East DRC. The conflict as it is now is alienating the Congolese Tutsi, who may find in the future that relations with the other ethnic groups in the area have soured to the point that they would want union with their ethnic kin in Rwanda. Can you say anything to either of these questions?

NazanineMoshiriAJE51 karma

M23 isn't just made up of Tutsis but certainly its leaders are mainly Tutsi. I haven't seen any direct evidence, but certainly the rebels must be getting their arms and intelligence from somewhere.

kryptick33 karma


NazanineMoshiriAJE28 karma

thank you

IsaacArman30 karma

Hi Nazanine,

Please tell me M23/Congo Army or countries in Africa get the weapons from? Aren't foreign influences there to get the natural resources out of rich country such as DRC under control?

By the way I am proud of you as an Iranian. Isaac

NazanineMoshiriAJE43 karma

Dear Isaac,

Thanks so much, appreciate your comment and question. Well, I am not a weapons expert, but some of the arms I have seen in the possession of the Congolese army are Russian made. Yes DRC has always been exploited for its natural resources, and continues to be exploited I am afraid.

sultanate30 karma

Hi Nazanine, I hope you don't mind if I ask a sort of personal question, but as a student in the US studying to become a journalist, Al Jazeera remains to be one of my dream careers. So my question is, what drew you to AJ? And what drew you to journalism in general? Also, many people say journalism is a dying field. Do you agree with that?

NazanineMoshiriAJE73 karma

I certainly don't think journalism is a dying field. I love al jazeera because it covers stories often forgotten by the rest of the world. I became a journalist because of my grandad who was a newspaper editor.

MJKauz29 karma

Hello Nazanine! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions from Goma.

First, how many reporters (even more interesting to me as a photojournalist, how many photojournalists) are on the ground in Goma at this moment?

Second, U.S. House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith said on MSNBC just about 30 minutes ago that he felt that the United States sending a special envoy to the region to work with Uganda and Rwanda for a peace treaty would be immensely helpful. I thought that it was laughable, that M23 won't care who comes to negotiate. What are your thoughts on a move like this?

Also, regionally, the US has trained one battalion, about 500 or so fighters, who are supposedly effective, but its a small drop in a big pond. Would such training be beneficial for the future of the region?

Finally, what advice would you give to a young Arabic-speaking photojournalist who wants to get abroad to do your kind of work? Feel free to contact me via PM if you want.

Thanks for your time, especially on BGAN! I hope YOU'RE not paying for the data rate ;)

NazanineMoshiriAJE42 karma

Thanks for your question, and the latest news. I think the only person M23 want to negotiate with is Joseph Kabila. However, it is concerned about US involvement, in fact just a few days ago, the leaders of the group started switching their phones off because they were concerned the Americans were tracking their movements. There's a large number of journalists here, around 20 photojournalists I would say. My advice is just head out into the field and try your luck

ofarrizzle26 karma

Hi Nazanine,

Why didn't the UN prevent the capture of Goma by the M23? I was under the impression that they warned the M23 that they would stop such an advance. Beyond that, do you think DR Congo would be well served by an expanded mandate for MONUSCO? Perhaps a more aggressive force that eliminates the rebel groups which plague the countryside, one which makes peace, rather than keeping a peace that never was?

NazanineMoshiriAJE41 karma

Good question. UN has told me it is because their mandate is to work/fight alongside the Congolese army not on their own, and there came a point in the advance when FARDC just retreated leaving UN peacekeepers on their own.

Trosso26 karma

What's the weather like in Congo?

NazanineMoshiriAJE70 karma

As unpredictable as this conflict!

mynameisrainer25 karma

What do you think is the major cause Africa is so full of unrest? It seems that most places are always warring, protesting, etc.

NazanineMoshiriAJE60 karma

Education, poverty, exploitation of natural resources, and weapons trade.

EngineRoom2321 karma

What are M23's goals? If it really is a movement dedicated to improving the situation of former militia and soldiers who have been 'mistreated' by Kabila, what does it solve by taking Goma? Is it holding the region hostage to get some patronage form the federal government?

NazanineMoshiriAJE29 karma

That is what M23's goals were when it was set up, but now its goals are more political. I think land, resources, and power are all major reasons for its fight.

Tony_Perkis_Sr17 karma

Hello Nazanine! I'm actually currently writing an analysis on this conflict for a college course dealing with conflict resolution/conflict management. If the government forces were able to reorganize and stop M23's momentum, do you think M23 would consider a peaceful resolution to the conflict? Their recent successes suggest they have no interest in negotiations, but if the government were able to force a stalemate would the rebels consider a deal similar to the March 2009 one but with more enforceable guarantees? Thank you!

NazanineMoshiriAJE29 karma

I think that if the rebels didn't control Goma, they may have reached some sort of an agreement close to the March 2009 deal. Now M23 has Goma, it is in a powerful position. I doubt this will be resolved easily.

NazanineMoshiriAJE14 karma

Sorry everyone, going to sleep now, have an early start tomorrow. We will be reporting from Goma as the deadline for the withdrawal of M23 arrives. I will pick this up tomorrow.

kortochgott14 karma

Do you estimate that the rebels will be able to actually trek across the whole country to Kinshasa? What means of transportation do they have? Is it likely that they will grow in numbers as that long march moves on?

NazanineMoshiriAJE25 karma

Well Laurent Kabila, Joseph Kabila's father managed it in the 1990s. It is more than a thousand kms away, and would take months. It is highly unlikely, what is more likely is a march on Bukavu in South Kivu.

ensoul13 karma

What is the word on the street? That is to say, does the general population of Goma clearly support either side of the conflict?... Or are people afraid to voice political opinions? Is M23 only tacitly accepted by virtue of the central government's ineptitude?

Thanks for the AMA!

NazanineMoshiriAJE35 karma

The people of Goma are politically savvy, and they will back whoever is in power right now.

Abirad12 karma

Wow, the Congo. What surprised you the most about the Congo when you got there?

NazanineMoshiriAJE42 karma

It is such a colourful, vibrant, and beautiful country, rolling green hills, lakes, rivers, and incredible wildlife.

HobbitFoot12 karma

What is the UN doing to stabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Given how little this conflict is discussed in Western media, do you think that more involvement from the international community would be a good thing and in what way?

NazanineMoshiriAJE13 karma

It is probably right to say that the DRC is not one of the top priorities for the UN and the International Community right now. Iran, Syria, Mali, Somalia are all probably higher up the list.

Muffinsismycomputer11 karma

First of all, thanks for doing this! Do you see Rwandan interference? This seems like Kagame's march all over again, but with more attention paid to it (which is good). How likely is a march to Kinshasa?

NazanineMoshiriAJE11 karma

Here is what UN panel of experts says about Rwandan involvement.


clash9010 karma

Is this conflict getting it's fair share of media attention from other media outlets?

NazanineMoshiriAJE16 karma

Well there are plenty of journalists here.

RichRedundantRich9 karma

So, what is the end game here? Does Kivu become a splinter state aligned with Rwanda? Does the Kinshasa government even have the wherewithal to prevent that?

And what happens to all this when Lake Kivu explodes and kills millions?

SaveCongo9 karma

Hello, I was wondering if you agree with Severine autesserre's argument that the UN and the international community are NOT looking for a bottom-up solution to the conflict and instead focus on top-down approaches to peace such as federal elections?

Also what do you think the chances are now that the M23s have Goma of there being a reintegration of them back in to the armed forces of the Congo (FARDC)?

I appreciate you answering the questions.

NazanineMoshiriAJE11 karma

Hi SaveCongo, I think nothing much can be achieved until there is security, if people are displaced in camps, there can be no stability. This region desperately needs education. Most of the families we have seen, or spoken to say they want schools for their children.

Re-integration is what M23 wanted back in April, on its terms, not sure if that is possible now. How can Kinshasa trust this won't happen again?

TheAdventureLady7 karma

Can you provide any insight into the arms trading going on? Where are these rebel groups getting their weapons and how are they buying them?

NazanineMoshiriAJE14 karma

This is the evidence, from a UN panel of experts report, check it out. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2012/84

NazanineMoshiriAJE6 karma

A big thank you, to everyone who commented, and asked me questions. I am so sorry I couldn't get around to everyone. I hope you enjoyed this reddit. I am off to continue my work.

Signiorita6 karma

Is it possible that M23's capture of Goma and their probable power gains in DRC could be good for the DRC, given Kabila's immense failures?

NazanineMoshiriAJE9 karma

Interesting that you say that, very few people here in Goma are willing to speak out against the group. There is a general sense of apathy, people here are just trying to make ends meet, and earn enough money to feed their families. If you travel just a few kms out of the City, South towards Sake, and people say the group's fighters are intimidating people, stealing food, and taking money.

[deleted]5 karma

From the history you know, how similar is this conflict to the two Congolese wars which claimed the lives of 3-5.4 million?

Does it seem to carry the same extent of humans rights abuse which took place during those times?

Why do you think the western media is now paying attention to it more than it seemed to back then (as far as I'm aware, correct me if I'm wrong)?

What do you think the influence of new media and the internet will have on future conflicts in africa and around the world ?(if you could comment on both domestic and international effects)

NazanineMoshiriAJE8 karma

It is very difficult to say right now, as we can't access many of the remote areas where human rights abuses may be taking place. I think the Western media took a big interest back then too, but remember, there are many more media outlets, and 24hr news stations now. The Arab Spring showed the world how social media sites can spread pictures, and send people out onto the streets. Working in Kenya has taught me how important sites like twitter are for news. I think the influence of new media will just keep growing. Here in DR Congo though because of power issues, and education, people still rely on traditional means, many here carried around a small radio.

uriman3 karma

Be safe, but I was wondering if you managed to speak with any rebel leaders? Did you see any evidence of Uganda/Rwanda involvement? Is there any way to trace the weapons, their nation or purchase or nation or manufacturer? Even if there was clear evidence of involvement, can you speculate what would be the response to this?

NazanineMoshiriAJE3 karma

We know that the rebels used sophisticated night vision equipment and a larger type of mortar to advance on Goma.