Congo: Army Folds Under Pressure

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: Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
July 10, 2006: Five Nepalese peacekeepers had been released by a militia group in northeast Congo. The Nepalese had been held since May 27. Two men captured Nepalese peacekeepers were released on June 27. At one time it was believed that the militiamen demanded ransom. The UN said no ransom was paid to the FNI (Front des Nationalistes et des Integrationistes).
July 7, 2006: The Congo government and the UN said that another 2600 militiamen had turned in their weapons in Ituri province.
July 6, 2006: A Russian An-12 cargo plane in eastern Congo crashed. Three Russian airman and one Congolese civilian died. The plane was flying from Goma to Kisangani and was operated by Mango Airlines.
The UN extended the deadline for militia disarmament to July 15. The UN reported a recent surge in militiamen turning in weapons. The UN issued a "forced disarmament" order that said militiamen who fail to meet the disarmament deadline will be arrested. Apparently a number of militiamen have had second thoughts about keeping their weapons.
India announced that it will send another infantry battalion to Congo. The 2nd Battalion Rajputana Rifles will be fully deployed in Katanga province before the end of July. The unit will begin deploying to Congo on July 15. India already has a brigade committed to UN operations in Congo.
July 4, 2006: Some 670 of 1200 European soldiers (European Union Force for the DRC) have already deployed in Kinshasha.
A rogue militia has once again taken control of the town of Tchei in eastern Congo (Ituri province). UN peacekeepers took Tchei in a major offensive at the end of May. In late June (June 26 in one account) UN peacekeepers withdrew from Tchei and were replaced by Congolese Army troops. The militia forces started a counter-attack on either June 30 or July 1. The Congolese Army troops withdrew after "several deaths" and 18 wounded. No question-- this is a huge setback for the Congolese government. The Congolese Army defeat once again demonstrates the army's ineffectiveness. Without UN troops as a back up (usually South Africans, Bangladeshis or Pakistanis in a "reaction force") the Congolese Army at best offers token resistance.
June 30, 3006: The UN said Congolese security forces (a military police unit) killed 12 civilians in the town of Matadi. The people killed were participating in an "anti-government protest." Many of the protestors in Matadi belong to the Bundi Dia Kongo movement. The group is a separatist group which wants to re-establish "the Kongo Kingdom." The kingdom would include parts of Congo, Gabon, and Angola. Matadi is Congo's main port (near the mouth of the Congo River). Earlier in June a number of labor strikes occurred in Matadi.

 

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