Congo: Outlaws In Uniform


: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

November 8, 2009: The UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo (MONUC) has stopped providing liaison and support to units in the Congolese Army (FARDC) that killed civilians during operations against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (FDLR). One of the units the UN will no longer support, was involved in an incident that left 62 Congolese civilians dead. The question to ask is where is the Congolese government in this tangle. Well, that isn't clear. The government has little control over many army units. The government has focused on defeating the FDLR, in part to fulfill commitments to the Rwandan government.

November 6, 2009: In the last several days two tribes in Equateur province (north Congo) have fought a series of battles, leaving over 60 people dead. A disagreement over fishing rights sparked the battle between the Munzaya and Enyele. The tribes are also involved in a dispute over village farming rights. The most serious incident apparently took place in the village of Dongo, but the government indicated that several smaller villages were burned in the fighting. Many tribesmen have fled the fighting, some crossing the border (the Ubangui River) into the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). At least 15,000 tribals have fled the area. The government reported that the Munzaya and Enyele fought in March 2009 and the trouble has continued. A serious incident took place on October 30 with over 40 government police were caught in a clash between the tribes. In that incident tribals fought with machete and hunting rifles over control of a pond.

November 2, 2009: The government claimed that the Congolese Army is making progress against the FDLR in North and South Kivu provinces. The statement came in the face of accusations of Congolese Army assaults on innocent civilians.

October 28, 2009: FDLR militiamen killed ten civilians in a series of attacks in North Kivu province. The UN reported that UN peacekeepers engaged FDLR fighters who had ambushed a convoy in the area and killed three militiamen.

October 20, 2009: Humanitarian relief organizations are describing the plight of refugees forced to return to Angola from the Congo as “an unfolding tragedy.” The tit for tat expulsions began in August. The UN estimates that as of mid-October 32,000 Angolan refugees had been expelled by the Congolese government. Angola has expelled around 18,000 Congolese refugees. The situation in Angola is particularly precarious. The relief groups say that the refugees lack the basics: food, shelter, and medicine.

October 15, 2009: The UN and several non-governmental organizations estimate that 900,000 Congolese citizens have been displaced by fighting in eastern Congo since the Congolese government began an offensive against the FDLR in January 2009. The offensive was :reinvigorated: this past summer. The NGO criticism has been particularly stinging, since the NGOs accuse the UN forces of failing to protect the civilians. The NGOs harshest criticism focuses on the government and the Congolese Army.


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