Congo: The Real Killer

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

January 11, 2006: As horrific as the eight years of civil war has been, even more Congolese have died from bad government during, and before that period. The fighting is being reduced faster than the government administration is being improved. Long after the fighting has stopped, massive numbers of people will still be dying from the corruption and incompetence of government officials.

January 10, 2006: The UN is asking the European Union to provide an additional 800 peacekeepers for MONUC (the Congo peacekeeping force). The UN wants the soldiers available for presidential, parliamentary and local elections, that are supposed to be held by June 2006. It is hoped France or Germany would contribute the battalion. It will be used as a "reserve force." Also, the UN is considering a proposal to shift some peacekeepers from Burundi to the Congo. The proposal would move the peacekeepers currently in Burundi into the Congo's province of Katanga. At present the UN has 100 troops in Katanga (up to 300 have been deployed there). The UN wants to deploy at least 2500 troops in the province.

January 7, 2006: The UN reported that fighting between Congolese military forces and the Mai-Mai militia in north Katanga province had forced between 100,000 and 120,000 people to flee their homes. The fighting began in mid-November when the Congo military began an operation to disarm various militias operating in Katanga. On December 1, 2005 one Mai-Mai militia force launched an attack on a refugee camp in Katanga's Bukhama region, further complicated the job of relief agencies. NGOs operating in the area said that Katanga is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. The International Crisis Group believes that the crisis already exists. The UN also reported that a Mai-Mai "militia group" (an alliance?) appears to be forming in Katanga, under the leadership of Kyungu Mutanga (his nom de guerre is "Gedeon") Mutanga may be hiding out in Congo's Upemba National Park (a huge jungle preserve)..

 

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