Congo: Another Peace Deal Collapses

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Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire)

February 4, 2008 The ceasefire is definitely not working. Laurent Nkunda's Tutsi militia (National Congress for the Defense of the People, CNDP) is now skirmishing with a Mai-Mai militia in North Kivu province (eastern Congo). Fighting broke out between Nkunda's troops and the Pareco faction of the Mai-Mai on January 28 in the town of Lusirandak and Kasake (North Kivu).

February 1, 2008: The UN has agreed to help "neutralize" Rwandan forces operating in Congo. This is code language for striking at Rwandan Hutu rebel organizations like the FDLR. In order to emphasize the importance of this new mission, MONUC will move its eastern command from Kisangani to Goma (capital of North Kivu). Goma is on the Rwanda-Congo border. In 2007 the Congolese and Rwandan governments signed an agreement that Congo would help disarm and repatriate Rwandan Hutu militias. However, many of the Hutus in the militias (like the FDLR) participated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. If they are repatriated they face charges of mass murder. That's a big incentive for these guys to fight to remain in Congo.

January 22, 2008: The Congolese government signed a ceasefire agreement with General Laurent Nkunda. In the first phase of the ceasefire, Congolese Army units and Nkunda's forces will disengage and UN forces will establish a buffer zone. The ceasefire is also supposed to apply to other militia forces in eastern Congo. Nkunda and other rebels, who are currently charged with insurrection (treason), will receive amnesty. The issue of where Nkunda will go, however, has not been addressed. He refuses to go into exile.

 

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