Congo: Big Battle Sends 100,000 Civilians Running


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

April 30, 2007: The army killed nearly 30 members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia) in a battle near the Ugandan border. The operation is part of the on-going offensive against the FDLR in North Kivu.

April 26, 2007: The Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), the largest opposition party, agreed to end its walkout of parliament. The MLC walked out to protest the Congo government's failure to adequately provides for the security of its leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba. Bemba is now in "unofficial" exile.

April 25, 2007: There is a major refugee movement in eastern Congo. Approximately 100,000 refugees are fleeing fighting between the Congolese Army (FARDC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The army has deployed several brigades in what it describes as a "counter-offensive" against the Rwandan Hutu militia. The FDLR appears to be retreating into the Virunga National Park region. The large number of refugees indicates the fighting is covering a wide territory. The FDLR has also been accused of taking hostages. Choosing between a radical militia and the Congolese Army is a tough choice. Both tend to lack discipline in general and are particularly trigger happy.

April 24, 2007: Uganda returned eight Congolese Army deserters to the Congolese Army. During the last 12 months the Ugandan military has handed over around 40 Congolese deserters. The Congolese deserters had been serving with the Congolese Army's "B Brigade" in Rutsuru. Uganda and the Congo have been taking steps to increase bilateral defense cooperation.


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