Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
25, 2007: Nine years of violence have left about four million people
dead. The violence has been much reduced lately, but is still estimated at
about 4-5,000 dead per month. For nearly a decade, the violence in the Congo
has been the deadliest conflict on the planet.
24, 2007: For the last two days, there have been "expected" clashes between
Congolese troops and Rwandan Hutu extremist militias occurred in eastern Congo.
An army brigade fought with an FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of
Rwanda) militia force in North Kivu province. At least 38 militiamen and five
Congolese soldiers died in the firefights. An army battalion arrived in the
area eight to ten days ago and reported that the FDLR was operating near the
town of Rutshuru in North Kivu. The army brigade was supported by UN forces.
23, 2007: 153 more Pakistani troops left Pakistan for duty in the Congo. The
troops are part of a normal troop rotation. Pakistani provides some of the UN's
most reliable peacekeeping forces.
21, 2007:.A recent UN report critiqued the Congolese Army reintegration
program. One observation in the report is very much in agreement with other
assessments coming out of the Congo: many of the rebel units which have been
integrated into the Congolese Army continue to look like and operate like rebel
units. The former rebels may not be fighting the Congolese forces (a benefit)
but they are still structured as an undisciplined militia force loyal to
specific officers (usually tribal leaders) rather than the Congo government.
The UN's "DDR" program (disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of
rebels into the Congo Army) is attractive, in theory, but it is not happening
in the field. NGOs report that there is little evidence of follow-up inspection
of "reintegrated" army organizations.