Congo: Sore Losers Shoot Back



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

February 5, 2007: The post-election riots and protests UN and EU peacekeepers feared would occur began breaking out February 1. In recent regional elections Congolese President Joseph Kabila's supporters won nine of 11 governorships. Five people died in riots in the town of Moanda, Bas-Congo province (western Congo). Bas-Congo is home to many supporters of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba. The UN began sending more peacekeepers into the region on February 3. By February 4 the death toll in Moanda had risen 37. The sharp increase in the death toll indicates how extensive and violent the rioting was. Rioting also occurred in the Bas-Congo towns of Boma, Matadi, and Songololo. An incident was also reported in the town of Kinzaomvwete. A total of 87 civilians died in the riots throughout the province. Ten security force members (police and riot troops) died in the riots. Bemba supporters are alleging fraud in elections because many supporters of President Joseph Kabila were declared victors in Bas-Congo.

February 1, 2007: The UN reported that a new peacekeeping contingent from Guatemala will deploy to the Congo. Guatemala has previously provided three contingents to the UN force, serving on a rotational basis. The new contingent will consist of 105 troops. 79 of the troops are special forces soldiers. On February 1 India sent 2770 troops to the Congo, also a "troop rotation." India has a total of 3,707 army troops serving in the Congo.

January 31, 2007: The UN's peacekeeping headquarters reported that the rogue militia the Front des Nationalistes and Intégrationnistes (FNI) was continuing to "terrorize" civilians in Itrui province (eastern Congo). In Fall 2006 the FNI agreed to disarm and demobilize, but at least one large faction continues its depredations. The UN command also reported a clash in South Kivo province between the Congolese Army and the rebel Moramvia Group. Five people died in the incident.




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