Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)
22, 2006: Supporters of defeated presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba
rioted in Kinshasha. The rioters burned down the Congo Supreme
Court building in the capital, while the court was deliberating Bemba's appeal.
This action is not likely to help Bemba. UN peacekeepers, operating in armored
vehicles, fired "warning shots" at the rioters. There was sniper fire at both
firefighters and policemen. Bemba accused Kabila of conducting "systematic
cheating" to win the election. However, South Africa's election observer team
issued a report that said the election was fair and "remarkably transparent."
Election observers are urging Bemba's supporters to accept the results.
Congo's eastern Ituri province, elements of the Congolese Army (FARDC) fought
with at least 50 members of the Ugandan LRA rebels. The firefight took place
near Mount Zeu on the Congo-Uganda border. The Congo government has promised
Uganda that it will act to stop rebel infiltration into Uganda. The fighting
follows a report that two Ugandan soldiers were arrested in the Congo. Uganda
conducts "aggressive" patrols along the Congo border - which sometimes means
Ugandan recon patrols enter Congolese territory in order to monitor the LRA.
19, 2006: Congo's electoral commission declared President Joseph Kabila the
winner of the run-off election. Kabila got 58 percent of the vote. Runner-up
Jean-Pierre Bemba received 42 percent. Kabila faces several immediate problems.
The first is working with UN and European peacekeepers to keep the inevitable
post-election violence to a minimum. Kinshasha is a potential battleground and
if the violence gets out of hand, the result could be civil war. If Kabila
manages to keep Kinshasha from exploding, he then faces a series of long term
problems. His own army is deeply split by tribal and political factions.
18, 2006: The Congo reported tribal fighting in Bandundu province (north of
Kinshasha). Fighting broke out between Tende and Nunu tribesmen in and near the
town of Bolobo. The fighting was described as "severe"; the likely cause was a
land dispute. Medical teams reported eight people died of "arrow and machete
wounds" and 27 people were wounded