Congo: That Same Old Song


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

December 14, 2007: Another major battle has erupted between the army and rebel General Laurent Nkunda's militia. Despite reports in early December that Congolese forces had taken Sake (North Kivu province), sporadic fighting continued in the immediate area. The army sent a unit towards Massisi and on December 10 it engaged one of Nkunda's Tutsi-dominated militia units. The Congolese force withdrew to Sake. UN peacekeepers (MONUC) will help defend Sake, but a militia loyal to Nkunda was advancing toward Sake. Nkunda says he will make peace if the government will make good on its promise to disarm the anti-Tutsi militias (mostly Hutus from Rwanda) and protect the Tutsi living in eastern Congo.

Fighting has also broken out near the town of Katale (30 miles northwest of Goma). Apparently Nkunda, his militia, and local allies attacked a Congolese Army unit near Katale and forced it to retreat.

December 9, 2007: The UN now estimates the rebel general Laurent Nkunda has between 6,000 and 8,000 militia fighters in North Kivu province. Estimates of Nkunda's strength have varied, from as low as 4,000 to as high as 10,000.

December 8. 2007: The army said that it had captured an FDLR headquarters in the town of Mushake (North Kivu province). The FDLR continues to hold positions in the towns of Kirolirwe and Kitchanga.

December 6, 2007: The government demands that Ugandan LRA (Lords Resistance Army) rebel commander Joseph Kony must leave the Congo before January 31, 2008. Kony is living in a camp inside the Congo's Garamba National Park (eastern Congo). Uganda had been pressing the Congolese government to force Kony to leave his base camp. Uganda also wants the Congo to force the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) guerrilla group to leave its bases in the Congo.

December 5, 2007: Congolese troops moved from the capital of North Kivu, Goma, towards the town of Massisi. The movement is part of an offensive against rogue general Laurent Nkunda and his militia fighters. Congolese forces reported taking the town of Sake on December 3, but there are reports that fighting continues in the area.


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