Congo: Fleeing Katanga

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

April 16, 2006: Two more peacekeeping battalions will be deployed to Katanga later this year: a Pakistani battalion (750 troops) and a battalion from Benin (600 to 650 troops). The Pakistani unit is currently deployed in Burundi. A Jordanian hospital will also deploy from Burundi to Katanga. The combat troops will be used to control rogue Mayi-Mayi militia units which (according to the UN and NGOs) have committed crimes and atrocities throughout Katanga. The UN reported that Mayi-Mayi depredations have forced nearly 200,000 people to flee their homes.

April 14, 2006: The government said that seven soldiers were convicted of crimes against humanity. The soldiers received sentences of life in prison. Their crimes included theft, mutiny, and participation in mass rape. The crimes were committed in December 2003. Five other soldiers were acquitted of similar charges. The twelve accused troops were originally members of the rebel Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC). Their guerrilla unit was made part of the Congolese Army.

April 13, 2006: Some 750 Congolese Army and 100 U.N. soldiers were involved in an offensive operation against Rwandan rebels in the eastern Congo. The UN report said that "small groups" of Rwandan Hutu rebels had been identified in North Kivu province. The rebels had been looting villages in the area. The Congo and UN are trying to repatriate foreign rebel groups (ie, Burundian, Rwandan, and Ugandan groups). In the case of Rwanda, many of the rebels in the Congo face charges of mass murder and genocide if they are arrested by UN troops or are returned to Rwanda.

 

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