Congo: The Ukrainian Factor


April 1, 2022: Congo has threatened to review what it calls unfair and possibly corrupt contracts, particularly in the mining sector. And now Congo is doing it. On February 28 Congolese court took control of Congo’s Tenke Fungurume mine away from China Molybdenum corporation. According to court allegations, China Molybdenum has failed to pay millions of dollars in royalty payments on copper and cobalt ore. The court appointed a temporary administrator from Gecamines, Congo’s state-run mining authority. Chinese contracts usually contain very demanding confidentiality clauses. However, Gecamines already owns 20 percent of the mine, and the corrupt former president Joseph Kabila is no longer in charge. Tshisekedi has secured domestic support. Congolese opposition leader Adolphe Muzito says he backs current president Tshisekedi’s efforts to investigate the minerals for infrastructure deal, which is a far bigger deal than the Tenke Fungurume royalty case. Muzito was in Kabila’s government when the deal was arranged (2008). After the court ruling Muzito said that the “Sino Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines) agreement” was lopsided and Congo has failed to benefit from it. (Austin Bay)

March 29, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) a peacekeeper helicopter crashed leaving eight foreign peacekeepers, six from Pakistan, dead. The helicopter was provided by Pakistan, which is one of the largest sources of personnel for UN peacekeeping operations. In the last sixty years over 200,000 Pakistani troops have served as peacekeepers with 257 of them killed on duty. The M23 rebel group was accused of shooting down the helicopter but denied they had anything to do with it. A more thorough examination of the crash site should reveal the cause of the crash. Elsewhere in North Kivu Ugandan troops killed 14 M23 members while losing one soldier. Ugandan and Congolese troops have been operating in the area for months seeking to eliminate the M23 presence.

March 28, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) M23 rebels group attacked an army base. M23 is the acronym for March 23rd Movement. At one time the rebel group also called itself the Congolese Revolutionary Army (CRA).

March 27, 2022: The EAC (East African Community) confirmed that Congo will be admitted to the organization, probably by the end of this month. Congo would be the EAC’s seventh member in addition to Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The EAC members cooperate to deal with matters of mutual interest.

March 25, 2022: In the Central African Republic (near the borders with Chad and Cameroon) 3R (Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation) rebels attacked an army base and killed five soldiers. `

March 24, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province) a Uganda-Congo joint military operation continues. The joint operation seeks to protect civilians from attacks by ADF Islamist terrorists who are seeking out Catholic and Protestant Christians and killing them.

Meanwhile, CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) militants in nearby Ituri province’ killed 11 civilians and one soldier.

March 23, 2022: Malawi has agreed to a Chinese BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) memorandum of understanding (MOU). China is currently working on a $68 million water project (Lilongwe Water Program). BRI is a global Chinese effort to build, and often operate new ports, railroads and pipelines that will benefit the local, and Chinese economies.

March 21, 2022: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) a French medical aid organization that violent attacks have forced it to cease its aid operations in several villages in northeastern Ituri.

March 20, 2022: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) CODECO rebels killed 14 civilians, seven of them children. CODECO commits a substantial number of the attacks and atrocities in Ituri, as well as across the border in Uganda. The violence in eastern Congo is mainly in Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province. CODECO is predominantly a Lendu tribal organization, as are many of militias in eastern Congo. ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) is also from Uganda and has more Moslem radicals than rebels. ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) considers the ADF to be ISCAP (ISILs Central African Province). ADF pledged allegiance to ISIL in 2019 and later described itself as ISCAP. The name changes nothing because ADF continues its terrorist operations, primarily in eastern Congo.

March 17, 2022: The U.S. imposed sanctions on individuals and companies involved in the illicit smuggling of Congolese gold. A specific target is the African Gold Refinery located in Uganda.

March 15, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu and Ituri provinces) ADF Islamic terrorists murdered at least 62 people in a series of attacks that began March 10. The attacks occurred while joint Uganda-Congo military forces fought other ADF elements in the area.

March 14, 2022: In Ugandan, the army insisted that rumors the president Museveni's son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, had resigned from the military were false. Kainerugaba holds the rank of lieutenant general and commands Uganda’s land forces. Soldiers cannot participate in Ugandan politics. Many Ugandans believe Kainerugaba would like to run for president in 2026.

The ICC (International Criminal Court) announced that former CAR (Central African Republic) militia leader Maxime Jeoffroy Eli Mokom Gawaka was turned over to the ICC for prosecution. His surrender took place in Chad. He faced charges for crimes against humanity and war crimes. At one time he was the CAR’s national coordinator of anti-balaka militias. The ICC issued a warrant for his arrest in 2018.

March 11, 2022: Rwanda confirmed that it intends to keep its peacekeeping contingent in Mozambique as long as necessary. Since July 2021 the contingent has provided security in northern Mozambique (Cabo Delgado province) where Ansar al-Sunna, an Islamic terrorist, continues to threaten the lucrative natural has facilities in the province.

March 10, 2022: Rwanda confirmed it has fully opened the Gatuna border crossing with Uganda. Gatuna is one of the most highly trafficked border crossings in East Africa as it connects Kenya’s Mombasa port to various cities in the region. On an average day from 80 to 90 tractor-trailers move through Gatuna (over 2,500 a month). Political disagreements between Rwanda and Uganda had shut the crossing for the better part of three years.

March 9, 2022: In eastern Congo (Ituri province) CODECO rebels killed 18 civilians who sought refuge in a church.

March 8, 2022: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered all Ukrainian peacekeeping forces to return home to fight the Russians. Ukraine has around 300 soldiers, police officers and senior staff serving on six UN peacekeeping operations. The largest (264 personnel) Ukrainian contingent serves with the UN peacekeeper force in Congo. All but 14 of these Ukrainian troops are with a Ukrainian aviation unit that operates and maintains eight helicopters. They will be missed because African peacekeeping operations are much more effective when they have helicopters available.

March 5, 2022: In CAR (the capital Bangui) a hundred protestors held a demonstration to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. No kidding. They waved Russian and CAR flags. Russia provides the CAR with weapons and Wagner Group military contractors. The Wagner Group, which reports directly to Russian president Vladimir Putin, is active in several African countries.

February 28, 2022: In Congo a court ruling has taken away control of Congo’s Tenke Fungurume mine from China Molybdenum. China Molybdenum is accused of failing to pay millions of dollars in royalty payments. China bought the huge mine in 2016. The court appointed a temporary administrator from Gecamines, Congo’s state-run mining authority.

February 19, 2022: In eastern Congo (North Kivu province), South Africa deployed its 21 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion to serve with the UN peacekeepers. South African troops are highly regarded as peacekeepers because they are better trained and led than most other African troops.




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