Congo: Hutu Hardcore Refuses To Surrender



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

March 15, 2008: The UN admits that 6,000 Rwandan Hutu gunmen are responsible for the violence that has kept the provinces of North and South Kivu a mess. The Hutus are largely those who tried to kill all Rwandan Tutsi in 1994. When that failed, despite killing nearly a million people, hundreds of thousands of Hutu, fearing retribution, fled to Congo. Many of these Hutu were armed, organized into the Interahamwe militia, and they planned to wage a guerilla war with the new, Tutsi dominated government in Rwanda. But the Rwandan Tutsis invaded Congo to destroy the Tutsi rebels, and this triggered a revolution in Congo ten years ago. After over a decade of fighting, many of the Hutu rebels have been killed, or returned to Rwanda to face justice. But 6,000 Hutu gunmen survive, and refuse to surrender. The UN has told these Hutu that surrender and disarmament is the only option. The Hutu are the hardcore, and most refuse. Many of the fighters are organized into the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) are willing to negotiate. But in the past, FDLR offers to negotiate have gone nowhere. Until these Hutu holdouts are taken down, there will be no peace in eastern Congo.

March 14, 2008: The International Criminal Court (ICC) continues to investigate charges of murder, rape, and looting in eastern Congo. The ICC has been conducting "town meetings" in North Kivu province (eastern Congo) and in Equateur province (northeastern Congo). Equatuer's Ituria region was the scene of some of the worst ethnic fighting during the Great Congo War.

March 10, 2008: The UN reported that the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) is trying to gain control of Bas-Congo province (western Congo). Most of the UN's peacekeeping efforts have either centered on the capital, Kinshasha, or have focused on eastern Congo (eg North and South Kivu provinces). In January the UN beefed up its peacekeeping contingent in Bas-Congo, but it was a relatively small increase (140 soldiers). The UN began sending more reinforcements to Bas-Congo on March 3. The BDK is a strange outfit even for Congo. The BDK draws its strength from the Kongo ethnic group. It says its ultimate goal is to re-create a "pre-colonial" Kongo kingdom. In additional to a substantial slice of the Congo, the BDK's "kingdom" includes land within the countries of Angola, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Gabon

March 4, 2008: Congolese police fought with BDK separatists in Bas-Congo province. The trouble began in late February. According to UN sources, over a five day period (February 29-March 4) 22 people have died in riots and battles with police. The capital of Bas-Congo province, Matadi, has been the scene of several disturbances, but the deadliest clashes have occurred in the town of Sekebanza (north of Matadi).




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