Congo: Escaping Across The Border


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

January 5, 2009: The remaining members of the Ugandan LRA rebels are crossing into the Central African Republic (CAR), pursued by Congolese and Ugandan troops. The CAR, which is itself in the midst of a civil war, has said it will try to send troops to the border to intercept the  LRA before they can, as they did last year, raid villages for captives and supplies. If the CAR cannot destroy the LRA, the rebels will live off the locals for as long as they can, then return to Congo. Then again, Congo or Ugandan forces may pursue the LRA across the border, especially if it appears that the CAR government has been unable to muster any troops to deal with the matter.

January 2, 2009: MONUC observers are disputing allegations made over the last week by General Laurent Nkunda, that the Congolese Army was reinforcing its positions north of Goma. The government and Nkunda's National Congress for Defense of the People (CNDP) are scheduled to reconvene peace talks on January 7.

January 1, 2009: Small groups of the Ugandan rebel Lords Resistance Army have left some of the Uganda-Congo border areas and are moving towards the Central African Republic (CAR). The LRA cadres burned several villages as they moved along the Congo-Sudan border area. The village of Faradje lost 150 killed, the village of Duru 75 killed and Doruma lost 215. These figures are in line with the press reports that 400 people were killed by the LRA in several raids in northern Congo. An LRA spokesman has denied that the LRA attacked the villages.

December 31, 2008: The government said that it would continue to cooperate with the UN and Uganda to destroy the LRA.

December 26, 2008: General Laurent Nkunda alleged that Congolese Army troops and militias loyal to the government had violated ceasefire terms in eastern Congo. Nkunda sent his complaint directly to the UN. His statement included the allegation that his forces had received "harassing fire" around Goma'a airport (North Kivu province). This follows earlier ceasefire violation accusations from Nkunda. Nkunda accused the Congolese Army of "redeploying" units around the town of Kibati (north of Goma).

December 25, 2008: Several sources reported a series of attacks by the LRA on villages in northeastern Congo. At least 400 Congolese civilians may have been killed in Haut-Uele district. "LRA elements" appear to be pulling out of southern Sudan and Congo in response to the Ugandan Army-led attacks on LRA base camps in Congo.

December 24, 2008: The government said that it believes the European Union will provide extra equipment and supplies to MONUC peacekeepers. The EU has (at least for the time being) decided it will not send additional troops to the Congo. Despite the EU's decision, the UN continues to look for troops to serve in what is now called a "bridging force" to help boost peacekeeping troop strength in eastern Congo.

December 22, 2008: The UN Security Council renewed the mandate for the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUC). The mandate was renewed for one year. In some ways this was a formality but an important formality. MONUC has around 17,000 soldiers on duty in the Congo.


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