Congo: Return Of The Big Time Rebellion



Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

October 5, 2008: Rebel militia leader General Laurent Nkunda may be expanding his political goals in the Congo. Nkunda and his CNDP militia have claimed their aim is to protect Congolese Tutsis. Now Nkunda says he wants to "liberate" the entire Congo. Here's the specific quote: "We are going to liberate the people of Congo." MONUC (UN Mission in Congo) has condemned Nkunda's statement. This may be political rhetoric and bombast by a leader known for both. However, thanks to Nkunda, the January 2008 peace deal is in tatters. Why? Nkunda entered the peace process in part because he thought the Congolese government would help destroy the Democratic Forces for Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia and that the CNDP would enter into some type of power sharing arrangement with the Kabila government. The FDLR is still around. The Congolese government doesn't trust Nkunda and he doesn't trust them.

October 3, 2008: The Congolese Army sent reinforcements into Ituri province in order to quell attacks by the IPRF.

October 2, 2008: UN attack helicopters fired on militia forces near the village of Kagaba (Ituri province). Two gunships fired rockets and strafed militiamen belonging to the Ituri Patriotic Resistance Front (IPRF—sometimes the militia is called the FRPI, for Front de Resistance Patriotique en Ituri). MONUC estimates that the IPRF has around 2,000 armed militiamen. This is an increase in size since the beginning of 2008. UN forces have been fighting with the IRRF in the area since an IRRF unit ambushed a UN convoy on September 30.

September 30, 2008: The UN and Sudan reported that over 1200 Congolese civilians fled into south Sudan to avoid attacks by the Ugandan LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). The villagers said LRA fighters attacked their homes and abducted several children. The LRA uses kidnap victims to carry weapons and supplies. Congo has moved more forces into the border region in response to demands by Uganda that Congo crackdown on LRA fighters operating within its borders and eliminate bases.

September 28, 2008: The Congolese Army and the CNDP fought a series of firefights in North Kivu province. The largest engagement occurred near the town of Rugari (north of Goma) in the heavily disputed Rutshuru region. Goma lies on the Rwanda-Congo border.

September 25, 2008: UN and international observers are saying the Congo peace accord is falling apart. The spasm of fighting in late August between Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of People (CNDP) militia and other militias in the Rutshuru, North Kivu area, began a round of hit and run battles that have displaced an estimated 100,000 people in North Kivu alone. The fighting has continued on and off for the first three weeks of September, with a spate of violence in South Kivu's Kalehe region.


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