Congo: Rebels on the Run

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

May 22, 2006: Some 3,000 troops, and a thousand UN peacekeepers, battled rebel militias in the eastern Congo, leaving over three dozen dead in the last few days.

May 20, 2006: UN peacekeeping forces launched another anti-militia offensive earlier this week in the northeastern Congo. The offensive is in support of upcoming national elections (presidential and legislative) scheduled for July 30. One goal of the offensive is to secure the town of Tchei (Ituri area, northeastern Congo). Congolese troops (from the Congolese Armed Forces, or FARDC) and UN troops are participating in the offensive. The UN troops are from Bangladesh, Pakistan and South Africa. These three countries have been supplying the bulk of the UN's "strike force" in the eastern Congo. The action around Tchei is being supported by attack helicopters and armored vehicles. A Congo government spokesman said that approximately 2000 militiamen were in the Tchei area. The Congolese Revolutionary Movement (MRC, also called the Revolutionary Movement of the Congo) has used Tchei as a base. MRC leader Innocent Kaina was captured on May 17 in the first phases of this offensive.

May 19, 2006: Uganda said that the Congo government and the UN would be "responsible" for any murders and abductions by the LRA if they allowed the LRA to "reorganize" inside the Congo. Uganda continues to press the UN to attack the LRA which it believes is "refitting" in the northeastern DRC near the Sudan border.

May 18, 2006:The UN's electoral effort in the Congo as the UN's "largest electoral operation." 26 million voters have registered. That is an "unexpectedly" high figure. The Congo's size, lack of transportation infrastructure, and continuing civil war make this the UN's biggest electoral challenge.

May 17, 2006: An army operation captured Innocent Kaina, a rogue Congolese militia leader. Kaina was wounded when he was captured. UN peacekeepers took Kaina to Bunia (Ituri province in the Congo). Kaina was a member of the Congolese Revolutionary Movement (MRC).

May 12, 2006: Mai-Mai militia leader Kyungu Mutanga (nom de guerre "Gedeon"), surrendered to UN forces in Katanga province. Gedeon was accompanied by approximately 150 fighters (some of them described as "child soldiers" in press reports). This is a victory for the UN's political program which offers a limited amnesty to militia fighters if they turn in themselves and their weapons. The program is called the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration program. (The acronym is DDR.)

 

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