Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
April 21, 2007:
The government will no longer allow Uganda to send troops across the
border, into Congo, to seek out LRA rebels hiding there. Instead, Congo will
send sufficient troops to the area to eliminate the LRA (which is acting like
bandits, and causing much fear and panic among local civilians.) Military
leaders from Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda agreed to coordinate their
operations against rebel groups, like the LRA, that cross borders to escape
arrest. This sort of cooperation will
make it much more difficult for rebel groups to survive. Being able to
"escape across the border" has long been the ultimate
get-out-of-jail-free card. April 18, 2007: Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi have
reactivated their "Great Lakes Countries Economic Community" (usually
identified as the CEPGL, its French acronym). The organization was created in
1976 as a trading group but became moribund in 1994 as Congo, Rwanda, and
Burundi all spun into civil wars. The organization says it intends to focus on
economic development. However, there is also a security dimension. The
countries intend to coordinate "military strategy against rebels." This might
evolve into a joint operations center to coordinate operations against rebels
in the Congo-Burundi-Rwanda border areas.
April 17, 2007: The army killed eight Rwandan Hutu
rebels in an operation in the east (South Kivu province). The Rwandan rebels
belonged to the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
April 14, 2007: The Movement for the Liberation of
Congo (MLC, Congo's largest opposition party) is suspending participation in
the Congolese parliament. The MLC parliamentarians fear for their security.
Congo's President Joseph Kabila is attempting to crush the opposition. With
opposition leader Bemba out of the country the MLC is demoralized.
April 11, 2007: Congolese opposition leader
Jean-Pierre Bemba left the Congo for exile in Portugal. Bemba left after a
decision on April 10 to prosecute Bemba
for inciting violence that led to the death of 600 in fighting in late March.
"Exile" isn't the official word for Bemba's departure. He had been staying in
the South African embassy. The official story is that Bemba is seeking medical
aid in Portugal. The prosecutor's charges are specious.