Congo: Chaos, Criminals and Corruption

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)



October 30, 2005: As soldiers and peacekeepers clear gunmen out of areas in the northeast, they find a lawless society where death comes easy and just getting by is very hard. The country as a whole is short on law (few judges) and order (few police, lots of cheap weapons). While technically a wealthy country, many of the natural resources are being, literally, stolen by criminal gangs and corrupt officials. The Congo is a major mess, and no one has any idea what it would cost, or how long it would take to fix all the problems.

October 28, 2005: The UN extended the peacekeeping mandate in the Congo through September 30, 2006. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also requested that the MONUC peacekeeping force be authorized another 2,580 troops. At the moment the MONUC force has 18,630 people. 15,191 are peacekeeping troops and 324 are civilian policemen. The Security Council agreed to deploy another 300 troops in the Congo Katanga province. The unit combine light infantry and medical personnel.

October 25, 2005: About a thousand of the estimated 15,000 armed militiamen in the northeast have been forced to give up their weapons. The army and peacekeeper patrols are supported by aircraft, providing the kind of military force the militiamen cannot handle. But most of these guys are just fleeing into the bush, to wait until the soldiers leave.

October 23, 2005: UN peacekeepers went searching for illegal weapons and gunmen in the northeast. One Nepalese peacekeeper was wounded, but generally there was not much resistance. The militiamen often hid their weapons at the approach of peacekeepers. Illegal arms markets were also sought out, as cheap AK-47s, an aftereffect of the end of the Cold War in 1991, make much of the violence possible.

 

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