Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
15, 2006: The European Union (EU) said that it will withdraw its 1200-troop
peacekeeping force from the Congo "on schedule." The schedule calls for the
troops to depart at the end of November. However, UN and EUFOR patrols (backed
by armored personnel carriers) continue throughout Kinshasha, which is
regarded as the "center of gravity." During the first week of November, UN and
EUFOR peacekeepers began manning a number of fixed positions in Kinshasha. The
peacekeepers are immediately. tasked with separating factions loyal to Kabila
and Bemba. They are also manning key areas in the capital should violence break
out when the final election results are announced. The run-off election took
place on October 29. The final results will be available on November 19.
12, 2006: Two people died in Kinshasha as the results of a series of violent
confrontations between groups loyal to opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba and
Congolese president Joseph Kabila. Some 67 percent of the presidential run-off
vote has been counted and Kabila leads Bemba 61 to 39 percent.
and EUFOR peacekeepers once again deployed in Bemba's neighborhood. Pro-Kabila
demonstrators have repeatedly marched through the streets near Bemba's
11, 2006: The Rwandan government denied reports that it had sent forces into
the eastern Congo. The scattered reports claimed Rwandan soldiers were chasing
1, 2006: The US froze the assets of seven men accused of illegally shipping
weapons and ammunition to the Congo. The seven include Russian businessman
Viktor Bout and former Congolese general Laurent Nkunda. Nkunda is also charged
with committing war crimes in the eastern Congo, which allegedly occurred when
he led a short-lived tribal rebellion. Bout (in Moscow) denied the charges.
Both the UN and US have urged the Congo and neighboring countries to rein in
arms dealers and gunrunners. Enforcing the international arms embargo has
proven to be difficult. The "kingpin" strategy (ie, arresting those who direct
the trade) doesn't necessarily produce immediate results. It does, however,
discourage other gunrunners.
29, 2006: Congo conducted its presidential run-off election. The UN said that
the elections and election-related expenses cost nearly $500 million. Election
monitors reported little violence throughout the country.