Congo: Rebel With A Magic Sword

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

 

January 7, 2010: Responding to insistent criticism from diplomats regarding the government's endemic corruption, the government fired 119 senior civil servants in the last week. At least another 2,500 lower ranking civil servants (according to one source from customs and tax offices) will be forced to take early retirement. Many of the senior officials were in budgeting and financial offices.

January 2, 2010: NGOs with personnel in the Dongo area have reported that Eneyel tribesmen loyal to Udjani have ambushed barges carrying refugees across the Ubangi River from the Congo into the Central African Republic (CAR).

January 1, 2010: The controversial Kimia 2 operation against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is over. Now the Congolese Army has officially launched Operation Amani Leo (which in Swahili translates as “peace today). The government still maintains that Kimia 2 was successful and “degraded” the FDLR.

December 29, 2009: More news from Dongo (area in Equateur province). The UN estimates Over 160,000 people have fled from Dongo, an area in Equateur province (northern Congo). Many of the refugees (an estimated 90,000) have crossed the border into the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and into the Central African Republic (CAR). Refugees report seeing 15 Congolese policemen killed in October 2009, by Enyele tribesmen. The killers were led by a man named Udjani, who claims to possess a magic sword which can poison his victims (as well as cut them, presumably). Another story states that Udjani could “jam” guns so they would not fire (ie, using his magic). Udjani is following a familiar path, where a religious cult leader (eg, animist “medicine man” or a “Christian mystic” like the LRA) starts a tribal war or a war against the government. What throws an interesting twist of reality into this particular “mystic uprising” is that the UN and other sources believe several of Udjani's followers were formerly in militias loyal to ex-Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba.

December 24, 2009: The government has said it will honor agreements to provide former supporters of General Laurent Nkunda with civil service and other government jobs. Talks between the government and ex-rebels have been going on for quite some time. The government said this is part of a “political reintegration” program to end the fighting in eastern Congo. Nkunda led the National Congress for Defense of the People (CNDP).

December 23, 2009: The UN Security Council extended the mandate for MONUC's peacekeeping operation. However, the new mandate only runs through May 2010. In the past MONUC mandates ran for a year.

December 20, 2009: The UN is reacting to reports of new Lords Resistance Army (LRA) Christmas attacks in the northern Congo by increasing its troops alert level. The UN believes the threats of attacks on civilians are serious threats. Letters, written by LRA rebels, have been found which imply that a new round of attacks was coming, In 2008 the LRA killed over 700 people in attacks around Christmas. Moroccan, Bangladeshi, and Indonesian peacekeeping contingents are deployed around the town of Dungu. Dungu was one of the towns attacked in 2008.

 

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