Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
2008: The UN peacekeeping forces continue to establish "buffer zones" in
eastern Congo��that's always been part of the mission but it appears the
re-deployment announced August 20 includes the establishment of more buffer
zones. The buffer zones serve several purposes - one (which is not mentioned
too often in public) is to watch the Congolese Army as well as rebel factions.
The MONUC troops are there to protect Congolese civilians who say they are
subject to intimidation and theft from army units. These are often the same
units the UN forces are attempting to train.
2008: The UN reported that the Ugandan rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) had
raided a Congolese village in northeastern Congo near the Sudan border. The LRA
subsequently denied the accusation.
2008: The UN began redeployment of peacekeepers in the eastern Congo to provide
additional protection to civilians in Orientale and Ituri provinces. The Ituri
Patriot Front (a militia) has reportedly launched several attacks in the Irumu
2008: A Mai-Mai militia struck an army position in North Kivu province. One
Congolese soldier was killed and two wounded. The attack occurred near the town
of Nyabiondo (Masisi region). There have been several small-scale clashes in
the area since the beginning of August.
2008: War continually threatens Africa's exotic game species. The Great Congo
War forced many policemen and park rangers to flee. Rebels had superior
firepower. Many gorillas (as in the species, not guerrillas) in eastern Congo
were killed. Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Congo witnessed a
reduction in elephant herds as poachers (many armed with automatic weapons)
attacked the herds in order to sell the elephant meat and obtain ivory. Stories
continue to crop up that the Rwandan FDLR (in North Kivu) regularly kills
elephants for ivory. Ivory is an internationally controlled commodity.
Underground demand, however, persists.