Forces: March 25, 2005


: Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC) has been mired in civil war for nearly a decade. No one is sure how many people have died, but it appears to be in the millions. Its not half a million armed men who are doing the actual killing. No, most of the deaths are from starvation, exposure and disease. This happens when millions of people are driven from their homes and farms by fear of the approaching soldiers or rebels. The problem with all these gunmen is that they are poorly led and disciplined. They literally rape and pillage their way back and forth across vast swaths of Congo. Below is a list of the military organizations currently operating in the Congo. 

Government Forces

FARDC (Armed Forces of the DRC): The official armed forces, totaling perhaps 300,000 troops. Most are poorly equipped and poorly trained, with corrupt officers, etc. It includes former rebel/rival organizations that have now been "integrated" into the armed forces. These include the following contingents, some of which still operate independently.

ex-FAC (Armed Forces of Congo): About 70,000 men.

ex-RCD-G (Goma Faction of the Congolese Rally for Democracy): Some 20,000 men.

ex-RCD-ML (Liberation Movement Faction of the Congolese Rally . . . ): About 4,500 men.

ex-Mai-Mai (Tribal militias): At least 25,000 armed (often with spears and bows) men. Number varies depending on how many tribesmen feel like going out and raising hell.

Ituri Militia (3-4 local defense forces in the Ituri region of the northeast): About 25,000 men.

FRP (Federal Republican Forces): Congo Tutsi force of about 3,000 armed men. The Tutsi are a minority in eastern Congo, but make good soldiers. 

GSSP (Special Presidential Guard): possibly as many as 13,000 troops. Probably the best armed and equipped, but poorly led by corrupt officers.

Allied Forces

FLEC (Front for the Liberation of East Congo): Kivu tribe regional militia, about 5,000 men. 

North Kivu Militia: Possibly 10,000-15,000 poorly armed irregulars.

Independent Ituri Militia: several bands of irregulars totaling about 3,500 men.

Foreign Forces that are pro-FARDC

FDLR (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda): Hutu exiles, some 12,000-15,000 poorly armed men. They raid into Rwanda and Burundi, causing military and diplomatic problems for the Congo.

FNL (National Liberation Front): Burundi Hutu rebels. About a thousand in Burundi, who make occasional raids into Congo.

ADF (Allied Democratic Force): Ugandan exiles, no more than 200, operating more as bandits.

Foreign Forces that are anti-FARDC

FDR (Rwanda Defense Force): About. 1,000 of a force that formerly totaled over 25,000 and is now largely back in Rwanda. FDR troops still raid out of Rwanda from time to time, in response to FDLR raids into Rwanda. FDR are rumored to be good troops by regional standards, lightly armed, fast moving, pretty disciplined.

ARP (People's Republican Army): Ugandan exiles, only about 500 men.

International Community

UN Forces: About 10,000 troops currently in MONUC, with an additional brigade each of Indians and Pakistanis en route. The UN, already acting more aggressively against the rebels, and pro-government forces that are out-of-control. May push harder after the Indian and Pakistani troops arrive.

Training Contingents: Personnel from Angola, Belgium, South Africa, and Tanzania, working with Congolese government forces.




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